The centromere is a repeat-rich structure essential for chromosome segregation; with the long-term aim of understanding centromere structure and function, we set out to identify cotton centromere sequences. To isolate centromere-associated sequences from cotton, (Gossypium hirsutum) we surveyed tandem and dispersed repetitive DNA in the genus. Centromere-associated elements in other plants include tandem repeats and, in some cases, centromere-specific retroelements. Examination of cotton genomic survey sequences for tandem repeats yielded sequences that did not localize to the centromere. However, among the repetitive sequences we also identified a gypsy-like LTR retrotransposon (Centromere Retroelement Gossypium, CRG) that localizes to the centromere region of all chromosomes in domestic upland cotton, Gossypium hirsutum, the major commercially grown cotton. The location of the functional centromere was confirmed by immunostaining with antiserum to the centromere-specific histone CENH3, which co-localizes with CRG hybridization on metaphase mitotic chromosomes. G. hirsutum is an allotetraploid composed of A and D genomes and CRG is also present in the centromere regions of other AD cotton species. Furthermore, FISH and genomic dot blot hybridization revealed that CRG is found in D-genome diploid cotton species, but not in A-genome diploid species, indicating that this retroelement may have invaded the A-genome centromeres during allopolyploid formation and amplified during evolutionary history. CRG is also found in other diploid Gossypium species, including B and E2 genome species, but not in the C, E1, F, and G genome species tested. Isolation of this centromere-specific retrotransposon from Gossypium provides a probe for further understanding of centromere structure, and a tool for future engineering of centromere mini-chromosomes in this important crop species.