Fifty sequences from the mouse genome database containing simple sequence repeats or microsatellites have been analysed for size variation using the polymerase chain reaction and gel electrophoresis. 88% of the sequences, most of which contain the dinucleotide repeat, CA/GT, showed size variations between different inbred strains of mice and the wild mouse, Mus spretus. 62% of sequences had 3 or more alleles. GA/CT and AT/TA-containing sequences were also variable. About half of these size variants were detectable by agarose gel electrophoresis. This simple approach is extremely useful in linkage and genome mapping studies and will facilitate construction of high resolution maps of both the mouse and human genomes.