Several quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting muscle glycogen content and related traits were mapped to pig chromosome 15 using a three-generation intercross between Berkshire x Yorkshire pigs. On the basis of the QTL location the PRKAG3 (protein kinase, AMP-activated, gamma(3)-subunit) gene was considered to be a good candidate for the observed effects. Differences in the PRKAG3 gene sequences of the founder animals of the intercross were analyzed. The RN(-) mutation previously reported was not present in the cross but three missense substitutions and a polymorphic short interspersed element (SINE) were identified. To confirm the hypothesis that at least one of these mutations was associated with differences in meat quality, >1800 animals from several unrelated commercial lines were genotyped for the candidate substitutions and an association study was performed. The results demonstrate the presence of new economically important alleles of the PRKAG3 gene affecting the glycogen content in the muscle and the resulting meat quality. Haplotype analysis was shown to resolve the effects of PRKAG3 more clearly than analysis of individual polymorphisms. Because of their prevalence in the more common commercial breeds, the potential implications for the pig industry and consumers are considerably greater than the original discovery of the RN(-) mutation. Furthermore, these results illustrate that additional alleles of genes involved in major mutations may play a significant role in quantitative trait variation.