Thirty-eight bovine Y chromosome (BTAY) microsatellites (MS) were assessed for polymorphisms in DNA samples obtained from 17 unrelated bulls. Thirty-three of these microsatellites are new and were used for the construction of a first generation radiation hybrid map for BTAY (Liu et al., 2002). Five MS had been previously reported and were used as positive controls. Fourteen out of 38 MS were found to be polymorphic; the remaining 24 were uninformative among the animals tested. The number of hemizygous loci per MS within individual ranged from two to over 20. Seven MS presented smear- or ladder-like bands, a unique feature for Y chromosome multi-copy hemizygous MS loci. The locus length variance, within individual, ranged from 2 to 42 bp corresponding to the MS with the minimum and maximum number of loci observed, respectively. Within the 14 polymorphic MS, the five pseudoautosomal MS, on average, were more polymorphic (35.3%) than the nine Y-specific MS (19.6%). Haplotypes resulting from combinations of these polymorphic loci will provide a powerful tool for future studies on the origin of domestic cattle and the evolution of bovid species.