We established a genetic linkage map employing 518 simple sequence repeat (SSR, or microsatellite) markers for Bombyx mori (silkworm), the economically and culturally important lepidopteran insect, as part of an international genomics program. A survey of six representative silkworm strains using 2,500 (CA)n- and (CT)n-based SSR markers revealed 17-24% polymorphism, indicating a high degree of homozygosity resulting from a long history of inbreeding. Twenty-nine SSR linkage groups were established in well characterized Dazao and C108 strains based on genotyping of 189 backcross progeny derived from an F1 male mated with a C108 female. The clustering was further focused to 28 groups by genotyping 22 backcross progeny derived from an F1 female mated with a C108 male. This set of SSR linkage groups was further assigned to the 28 chromosomes (established linkage groups) of silkworm aided by visible mutations and cleaved amplified polymorphic sequence markers developed from previously mapped genes, cDNA sequences, and cloned random amplified polymorphic DNAs. By integrating a visible mutation p (plain, larval marking) and 29 well conserved genes of insects onto this SSR-based linkage map, a second generation consensus silkworm genetic map with a range of 7-40 markers per linkage group and a total map length of ≈3431.9 cM was constructed and its high efficiency for genotyping and potential application for synteny studies of Lepidoptera and other insects was demonstrated.