Efforts to build a comprehensive genetic linkage map for the turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) have focused on development of genetic markers and experimental resource families. In this study, PCR amplification was attempted for 772 microsatellite markers that had been previously developed for three avian species (chicken, quail and turkey). Allelic polymorphism at 410 markers (53.1% of total examined) was determined by genotyping ten individuals (six F 1 parents and four grandparents) in a new resource population specifically developed for genetic linkage mapping. Of these 410 markers, 109 (26.6%) were polymorphic in the tested individuals, with an average of 2.3 alleles per marker. Higher levels of polymorphism were found for the turkey-specific markers (61.1%) than for the chicken (22.7%) or quail-specific markers (33.3%). To test the fidelity of the matings, demonstrate the power of these families for linkage analysis, and determine genetic linkage relationships, 86 polymorphic markers were genotyped for up to 224 birds including founder grandparents, parents and F 2 progeny. Linkage relationships for many of the chicken markers elucidated in the turkey were comparable to those observed in the chicken. These data demonstrate that the new UMN/NTBF resource population will provide a solid foundation for constructing a comparative genetic map of the turkey.