The distribution of Y-chromosomal single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) haplogroups and short tandem repeat (STR) haplotypes was determined in a sample of 102 unrelated men of Arab origin from northwestern Algeria (Oran area). A total of nine different haplogroups were identified by a panel of 22 binary markers. The most common haplogroups observed in the Algerian population were E3b2 (45.1%) and J1 (22.5%). Y-STR typing by a 17-loci multiplex system allowed 93 haplotypes to be defined (88 were unique). Striking differences in the allele distribution and gene diversity of Y-STR markers between haplogroups could be found. In particular, intermediate alleles at locus DYS458 specifically characterized the haplotypes of individuals carrying haplogroup J1. All the intermediate alleles shared a common repeat sequence structure, supporting the hypothesis that the variant originated from a single mutational event.