To differentiate strains of Leishmania donovani, allelic markers at the DNA level were developed by sequence-confirmed amplified region analysis (SCAR). Homologous fragments from different strains of L. donovani were amplified by PCR using random primers and subsequently screened for single-strand conformation polymorphisms. Direct sequencing revealed 55 sequence polymorphisms in eight co-dominant DNA markers; 38 of them were single point mutations. Heterozygosity was evident for 69% and fixed heterozygosity for 25% of all polymorphisms. At most polymorphic sites one of the segregation genotypes was missing. Nineteen unique multilocus genotypes were identified among 29 strains of L. donovani. One genotype was represented by eight Sudanese strains; also two strains from Sudan as well as two strains from Kenya, respectively, shared identical genotypes. All other strains had individual multilocus genotypes. Calculation of genetic distances showed a correlation between multilocus genotypes and the geographical origin of these strains. African strains were found in one well-supported cluster with Kenyan and Sudanese strains clearly separated. SCAR markers seem to represent a random sample of neutral genetic variation present in natural populations. They are co-dominant because they can detect all possible allele combinations in a diploid organism and may, therefore, be very useful for population genetic analysis in Leishmania.