An insertion/deletion variant of a thymine base (T5 and T6) in exon 2 of porcine beta 3-adrenergic receptor (ADRB3) gene has been described. In the current study, we made an association study between the ADRB3 polymorphisms and production traits in 735 Duroc pigs. The allele frequencies for the T5 and T6 alleles in our study population were 0.433 and 0.567, respectively. Any associations between ADRB3 genotype and average daily weight gain during test period, or backfat thickness and intramuscular fat content were not detected in either sex. However the size of the loin eye muscle area (EMA) was significantly associated with ADRB3 genotypes in gilts. T6-homozygous gilts had a higher mean of EMA (40.6 +/- 0.6 cm(2)) than T5-homozygous (38.1 +/- 0.4 cm(2), P = 0.002) and heterozygous (38.8 +/- 0.3 cm(2), P = 0.034) gilts. This association was not detected in males. In addition, a multiple traits animal model best linear unbiased predictor (BLUP) analysis revealed that the T6-homozygous genotype had positive effects on breeding value of EMA. Accordingly, we suggest that ADRB3 polymorphism has the potential to be an important genetic marker for prediction of EMA in Duroc pigs.