BACKGROUND: In pigs, the perinatal period is the most critical time for survival. Piglet maturation, which occurs at the end of gestation, leads to a state of full development after birth. Therefore, maturity is an important determinant of early survival. Skeletal muscle plays a key role in adaptation to extra-uterine life, e.g. glycogen storage and thermoregulation. In this study, we performed microarray analysis to identify the genes and biological processes involved in piglet muscle maturity. Progeny from two breeds with extreme muscle maturity phenotypes were analyzed at two time points during gestation (gestational days 90 and 110). The Large White (LW) breed is a selected breed with an increased rate of mortality at birth, whereas the Meishan (MS) breed produces piglets with extremely low mortality at birth. The impact of the parental genome was analyzed with reciprocal crossed fetuses. RESULTS: Microarray analysis identified 12,326 differentially expressed probes for gestational age and genotype. Such a high number reflects an important transcriptomic change that occurs between 90 and 110 days of gestation. 2,000 probes, corresponding to 1,120 unique annotated genes, involved more particularly in the maturation process were further studied. Functional enrichment and graph inference studies underlined genes involved in muscular development around 90 days of gestation, and genes involved in metabolic functions, such as gluconeogenesis, around 110 days of gestation. Moreover, a difference in the expression of key genes, e.g. PCK2, LDHA or PGK1, was detected between MS and LW just before birth. Reciprocal crossing analysis resulted in the identification of 472 genes with an expression preferentially regulated by one parental genome. Most of these genes (366) were regulated by the paternal genome. Among these paternally regulated genes, some known imprinted genes, such as MAGEL2 or IGF2, were identified and could have a key role in the maturation process. CONCLUSION: These results reveal the biological mechanisms that regulate muscle maturity in piglets. Maturity is also under the conflicting regulation of the parental genomes. Crucial genes, which could explain the biological differences in maturity observed between LW and MS breeds, were identified. These genes could be excellent candidates for a key role in the maturity.