The discovery of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and insertions/deletions, which are the basis of most differences between alleles, has been simplified by recent developments in sequencing technology. SNP discovery in many crop species, such as corn and soybean, is relatively straightforward because of their high level of intraspecific nucleotide diversity, and the availability of many gene and expressed sequence tag (EST) sequences. For these species, direct readout of SNP haplotypes is possible. Haplotype-based analysis is more informative than analysis based on individual SNPs, and has more power in analyzing association with phenotypes. The elite germplasm of some crops may have been subjected to bottlenecks relatively recently, increasing the amount of linkage disequilibrium (LD) present and facilitating the association of SNP haplotypes at candidate gene loci with phenotypes. Whole-genome scans may help identify genome regions that are associated with interesting phenotypes if sufficient LD is present. Technological improvements make the use of SNP and indel markers attractive for high-throughput use in marker-assisted breeding, EST mapping and the integration of genetic and physical maps.