This paper reports the results of a linear instability analysis for a viscous liquid jet injecting into a quiescent inviscid gas medium with three-dimensional disturbances. A dispersion equation that accounts for the growth of asymmetric waves is derived, and the maximum rates of growth of various modes are calculated. The asymmetric breakup phenomenon of the jet and its structures at different modes is also studied by using a high-speed multi-frame holographic system. The theoretical predictions agree well with the experimental observations. The results of this study thus confirm the existence and even domination of unstable asymmetric modes under certain physical conditions in the breakup process.

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