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In this study, microsatellite markers were developed for the genetic linkage mapping and breeding program of the black tiger shrimp Penaeus monodon. A total of 997 unique microsatellite-containing expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were identified from 10 100 EST sequences in the P. monodon EST database. AT-rich microsatellite types were predominant in the EST sequences. Homology searching by the BLASTN and BLASTX programs revealed that these 997 ESTs represented 8.6% known gene products, 27.8% hypothetical proteins and 63.6% unknown gene products. Characterization of 50 markers on a panel of 35–48 unrelated shrimp indicated an average number of alleles of 12.6 and an average polymorphic information content of 0.723. These EST microsatellite markers along with 208 other markers (185 amplified fragment length polymorphisms, one exon-primed intron-crossing, six single strand conformation polymorphisms, one single nucleotide polymorphism, 13 non-EST-associated microsatellites and two EST-associated microsatellites) were analysed across the international P. monodon mapping family. A total of 144 new markers were added to the P. monodon maps, including 36 of the microsatellite-containing ESTs. The current P. monodon male and female linkage maps have 47 and 36 linkage groups respectively with coverage across half the P. monodon genome.