Myogenic cell cultures derived from muscle biopsies are excellent models for human cell differentiation. We report the first comprehensive analysis of myogenesis-specific DNA hyper-and hypo-methylation throughout the genome for human muscle progenitor cells (both myoblasts and myotubes) and skeletal muscle tissue vs. 30 non-muscle samples using reduced representation bisulfite sequencing. We also focused on four genes with extensive hyper-or hypo-methylation in the muscle lineage (PAX3, TBX1, MYH7B/MIR499 and OBSCN) to compare DNA methylation, DNaseI hypersensitivity, histone modification, and CTCF binding profiles. We found that myogenic hypermethylation was strongly associated with homeobox or T-box genes and muscle hypomethylation with contractile fiber genes. Nonetheless, there was no simple relationship between differential gene expression and myogenic differential methylation, rather only for subsets of these genes, such as contractile fiber genes. Skeletal muscle retained ~30% of the hypomethylated sites but only ~3% of hypermethylated sites seen in myogenic progenitor cells. By enzymatic assays, skeletal muscle was 2-fold enriched globally in genomic 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC) vs. myoblasts or myotubes and was the only sample type enriched in 5-hmC at tested myogenic hypermethylated sites in PAX3/CCDC140 and TBX1. TET1 and TET2 RNAs, which are involved in generation of 5-hmC and DNA demethylation, were strongly upregulated in myoblasts and myotubes. Our findings implicate de novo methylation predominantly before the myoblast stage and demethylation before and after the myotube stage in control of transcription and co-transcriptional RNA processing. They also suggest that, in muscle, TET1 or TET2 are involved in active demethylation and in formation of stable 5-hmC residues. © 2013 Landes Bioscience.