This study aimed to investigate the genes PPARGC1A (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma-coactivator 1A) and CAPNS1 (calpain small subunit 1) as candidate genes affecting meat quality traits in pigs. Four polymorphisms were identified in PPARCG1A and three in CAPNS1. The PPARGC1A polymorphism c.1288T>A was associated with pH and cooking loss in a F2 Durocx Pietrain experimental cross (DuPi, n =313) and with pH values in Italian Large White (ILW, n=380) and Italian Landrace (ILA, n=158) populations (P<0.05). The CAPNS1 polymorphism c.429A>C was associated with pH and conductivity in DuPi and with meat color in ILA (P<0.05). PPARGC1A mRNA expression associated with drip loss (P<0.01) and the same tendency was found for CAPNS1 (P= 0.06). The promoter methylation profiling suggested that methylation is not involved in CAPNS1 expression regulation. In conclusion, porcine PPARGC1A and CAPNS1 genes may affect meat quality traits, with breed-specific differences, and they could be used as markers for the improvement of meat quality in pigs. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.