Haplotype, allele frequencies and population data of 12 Y-chromosome STR loci DYS19, DYS385, DYS389I, DYS389II, DYS390, DYS391, DYS392, DYS393, DYS437, DYS438 and DYS439 were determined from a sample of 150 unrelated male individuals from El Salvador, Central America. A total of 131 haplotypes were identified by the 12 Y-STR loci of which 118 were unique. The haplotype diversity (99.08%) and the proportion of different haplotypes (87.33%) were estimated. R(ST) genetic distances were calculated between El Salvador and other populations from Southern and Central America, Europe and Africa. The highest R(ST) genetic distances were found when comparing El Salvador with African populations (0.334 <or= R(ST) <or= 0.395). The lowest non-significant distance was found in the comparison with Honduras. The observed genetic distances between El Salvador and Southern and Central Native groups presented a wide range of values (from 0.024 to 0.210) that can be explained by the differences in the proportion of European versus Amerindian contributions in these population groups. The Multi Dimensional Scaling (MDS) plot analysis, based on pairwise R(ST) values, showed that the general population of El Salvador is closer to the European cluster (composed by European and South American general population samples from Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela) than to the Southern/Central American cluster of Native and Mestizo populations.