Genetic variation present in 64 durum wheat accessions was investigated by using three sources of microsatellite (SSR) markers: EST-derived SSRs (EST-SSRs) and two sources of SSRs isolated from total genomic DNA. Out of 245 SSR primer pairs screened, 22 EST-SSRs and 20 genomic-derived SSRs were polymorphic and used for genotyping. The EST-SSR primers produced high quality markers, but had the lowest level of polymorphism (25%) compared to the other two sources of genomic SSR markers (53%). The 42 SSR markers detected 189 polymorphic alleles with an average number of 4.5 alleles per locus. The coefficient of similarity ranged from 0.28 to 0.70 and the estimates of similarity varied when different sources of SSR markers were used to genotype the accessions. This study showed that EST-derived SSR markers developed in bread wheat are polymorphic in durum wheat when assaying loci of the A and B genomes. A minumum of ten EST-SSRs generated a very low probability of identity (0.36x10(-12)) indicating that these SSRs have a very high discriminatory power. EST-SSR markers directly sample variation in transcribed regions of the genome, which may enhance their value in marker-assisted selection, comparative genetic analysis and for exploiting wheat genetic resources by providing a more-direct estimate of functional diversity.