The present study was designed to investigate the expression dynamics of genes during myogenesis in quail and chicken. Real-time PCR was used to detect mRNA expressions of MyoD, MyoG, MLP and MSTN in breast muscle of quail and chicken embryos during the period of embryonic days E7-17. Results showed that expression profiles of each gene displayed similar trend in the experiment period between quail and chicken, however, the expression concentration between the two species differed at the same time detected. MyoD mRNA expression in quail was significantly lower in the early phase of the experiment period (E7-9) (P<0.01 on E7; P<0.05 on both E8 and E9). For MyoG and MLP, the mRNA expressions were both lower in quail than that in chicken during the experiment period. Additionally, the embryonic day when quail reached its peak expression was earlier than that in chicken (MyoG: quail E12 vs. chicken E13; MLP: quail E14 vs. chicken E15), and the peak expression for both in quail was significantly lower than that in chicken (P<0.01 for both). For MSTN, expression in quail was significantly higher in quail than that in chicken at each time detected (P<0.01). It is concluded that differential expression of these genes might or at least partially contributed to the different development of muscle development in quail and chicken.