In order to detect the molecular mechanism of heterosis in pigs, an mRNA differential display (DD) technique was performed to investigate the differences in gene expression in the longissimus dorsi muscle tissues from Meishan, Meishan×Large White cross and Large White pigs. Fourteen expressed sequence tags (ESTs), differentially expressed between the hybrid and purebred pigs, were isolated and identified through semi-quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Nucleotide sequence analysis revealed that the 14 ESTs are not homologous to any of the known genes or ESTs. These novel ESTs were then deposited in the GenBank database. Tissue expression profile analysis showed that the ESTs were expressed in most tissues, including heart, spleen, liver, kidney, small intestine, ovary and lung, and this also implied that these genes must be important for the life process. Our results indicate the diversity of differential display of genes between the hybrids and purebreds in the Meishan×Large White cross combination. Results also suggest that heterosis in pigs might be derived from the differential expression of many indispensable genes in specific life phases.