The rapidly growing expressed sequence tag (EST) resources of species representing the Poacea family and availability of comprehensive sequence information for the rice (Oryza sativa) genome create an excellent opportunity for comparative genome analysis. Extensive synteny between rice chromosome 1 and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) chromosome 3 has proven extremely useful for saturation mapping of chromosomal regions containing target genes of large-genome barley with conserved orthologous genes from the syntenic regions of the rice genome. Rph5 is a gene conferring resistance to the barley leaf rust pathogen Puccinia hordei. It was mapped to chromosome 3HS, which is syntenic with rice chromosome 1S. The objective of this study was to increase marker density within the sub-centimorgan region around Rph5, using sequence-tagged site (STS) markers that were developed based on barley ESTs syntenic to the phage (P1)-derived artificial chromosome (PAC) clones comprising the distal region of rice chromosome 1S. Five rice PAC clones were used as queries in a blastn search to screen 375,187 barley ESTs. Ninety-four non-redundant EST sequences were identified from the EST database and used as templates to design 174 pairs of primer combinations. As a result, 9 barley EST-based STS markers were incorporated into the 'Bowman' × 'Magnif 102' high-resolution map of the Rph5 region. More importantly, six markers, including five EST-derived STS sequences, were found to co-segregate with Rph5. The results of this study demonstrate the usefulness of rice genomic resources for efficient deployment of barley ESTs for marker saturation of targeted barley genomic regions.