Myosin light chains associate with the motor protein myosin and are believed to play a role in the regulation of its actin-based ATPase activity. Myosin light chain cDNA clones from the turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) were isolated and sequenced. One sequence corresponded to an alternative transcript, the skeletal muscle essential light chain (MYL1 isoform 1) and a second to the smooth muscle isoform of myosin light chain (MYL6). The DNA and predicted amino acid sequences of both light chain genes were compared to that of the chicken. Based on the cDNA sequence, oligonucleotide primers were designed to amplify genomic DNA from six of the seven introns of the MYL1 gene. Approximately 5 kb of DNA was sequenced (introns and 3′ UTR) and evaluated for the presence of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). SNPs were verified by sequencing common intron regions from multiple individuals and three polymorphisms were used to genotype pedigreed families. MYL1 is assigned to a turkey linkage group that corresponds to a region of chicken chromosome 7 (GGA7). The results of this study provide genomic reagents for comparative studies of avian muscle components and muscle biology.