This report compares gene transfer efficiencies as well as durations and levels of gene expression for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) lentiviral vectors in a variety of human cell types in vitro. EIAV and HIV vectors transduced equivalent numbers of proliferating and G1/S- and G2/M-arrested cells, and both had very low efficiencies of transduction into G0-arrested cells. Analysis of the levels of both the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) and mRNA demonstrated that the HIV-transduced cells expressed greater levels of EGFP protein and RNA than the EIAV-transduced cells. Measurements of vector-derived EGFP RNA half-lives were fourfold higher with the HIV vector than with the EIAV vector. Long-term culture of EIAV-transduced human cells showed a significant decrease in the number of cells expressing the transgene; however, no corresponding loss was found in EIAV-transduced equine cells. In contrast, only a moderate decrease in the number of transgene-expressing cells was seen with the HIV vectors. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the EIAV vectors transduced human cells with efficiencies similar to those of the HIV vectors. However, our data indicate that transgene expression from EIAV vectors is limited by the instability of vector-derived RNA transcripts and silencing of the EIAV vectors over time.