Microsatellite markers containing simple sequence repeats (SSR) are a valuable tool for genetic analysis. Our objective is to augment the existing RFLP map of rice with simple sequence length polymorphisms (SSLP). In this study, we describe 20 new microsatellite markers that have been assigned to positions along the rice chromosomes, characterized for their allelic diversity in cultivated and wild rice, and tested for amplification in distantly related species. Our results indicate that the genomic distribution of microsatellites in rice appears to be random, with no obvious bias for, or clustering in particular regions, that mapping results are identical in intersubspecific and interspecific populations, and that amplification in wild relatives of Oryza sativa is reliable in species most closely related to cultivated rice but becomes less successful as the genetic distance increases. Sequence analysis of SSLP alleles in three related indica varieties demonstrated the clustering of complex arrays of SSR motifs in a single 300-bp region with independent variation in each. Two microsatellite markers amplified multiple loci that were mapped onto independent rice chromosomes, suggesting the presence of duplicated regions within the rice genome. The availability of increasing numbers of mapped SSLP markers can be expected to increase the power and resolution of genome analysis in rice.