We characterized a recently developed hyperactive piggyBac (pB) transposase enzyme [containing seven mutations (7pB)] for gene transfer in human cells in vitro and to somatic cells in mice in vivo. Despite a protein level expression similar to that of native pB, 7pB significantly increased the gene transfer efficiency of a neomycin resistance cassette transposon in both HEK293 and HeLa cultured human cells. Native pB and SB100X, the most active transposase of the Sleeping Beauty transposon system, exhibited similar transposition efficiency in cultured human cell lines. When delivered to primary human T cells ex vivo, 7pB increased gene delivery two- to threefold compared with piggyBac and SB100X. The activity of hyperactive 7pB transposase was not affected by the addition of a 24-kDa N-terminal tag, whereas SB100X manifested a 50% reduction in transposition. Hyperactive 7pB was compared with native pB and SB100X in vivo in mice using hydrodynamic tail-vein injection of a limiting dose of transposase DNA combined with luciferase reporter transposons. We followed transgene expression for up to 6 months and observed approximately 10-fold greater long-term gene expression in mice injected with a codon-optimized version of 7pB compared with mice injected with native pB or SB100X. We conclude that hyperactive piggyBac elements can increase gene transfer in human cells and in vivo and should enable improved gene delivery using the piggyBac transposon system in a variety of cell and gene-therapy applications.