The underground network of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi is decisive for the above-ground diversity of many plant ecosystems, but tools to investigate the population structure of AM fungi are sorely lacking. Here, we present a bioinformatics approach to identify microsatellite markers in the AM fungus Glomus intraradices. Based on 1958 contigs of this fungus, assembled from public databases, we identified 842 microsatellites. One hundred of them were subjected to closer scrutiny by designing flanking primers and performing an extensive screen to identify polymorphic loci. We obtained 18 polymorphic microsatellite markers, and we found that seven out of eight individual single-spore cultures of G. intraradices could readily be identified by at least five allelic differences, as compared to all other strains. Two single-spore cultures, however, nominally originating from completely different locations, displayed identity at all 18 loci, suggesting with 99.999999% probability that they represent a single clone. (c) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.