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Ten genes (ANK1, bR10D1, CA3, EPOR, HMGA2, MYPN, NME1, PDGFRA, ERC1, TTN), whose candidacy for meat-quality and carcass traits arises from their differential expression in prenatal muscle development, were examined for association in 1700 performance-tested fattening pigs of commercial purebred and crossbred herds of Duroc, Pietrain, Pietrain × (Landrace × Large White), Duroc × (Landrace × Large White) as well as in an experimental F2 population based on a reciprocal cross of Duroc and Pietrain. Comparative sequencing revealed polymorphic sites segregating across commercial breeds. Genetic mapping results corresponded to pre-existing assignments to porcine chromosomes or current human–porcine comparative maps. Nine of these genes showed association with meat-quality and carcass traits at a nominal P-value of ≤ 0.05; PDGFRA revealed no association reaching the P ≤ 0.05 threshold. In particular, HMGA2, CA3, EPOR, NME1 and TTN were associated with meat colour, pH and conductivity of loin 24 h postmortem; CA3 and MYPN exhibited association with ham weight and lean content (FOM) respectively at P-values of < 0.003 that correspond to false discovery rates of < 0.05. However, none of the genes showed significant associations for a particular trait across all populations. The study revealed statistical–genetic evidence for association of the functional candidate genes with traits related to meat quality and muscle deposition. The polymorphisms detected are not likely causal, but markers were identified that are in linkage disequilibrium with causal genetic variation within particular populations.