Forty single-copy, nuclear probes of known chromosomal position were used to examine restriction fragment length polymorphism in the tomato genus Lycopersion. The probes were from three libraries: one cDNA, and two genomic libraries [Symbol: see text]ne genomic made with EcoRI and the other with PstI. Total DNA from 156 plants representing eight species was cut with five different restriction enzymes and scored in 198 probe-enzyme combinations. Genetic distances between accessions (populations) and species were calculated from the resultant restriction patterns and proportion of shared bands. Accessions belonging to the same species largely clustered together, confirming their current classification. However, one mountain accession, classified as L. peruvianum var. humifusum (LA2150), was sufficiently distinct from the other accessions of L. peruvianum that it may qualify as a separate species L. esculentum and L. pimpinellifolium were the least clearly differentiated, possibly reflecting introgressive hybridization, known to have been promoted by man in recent history. Dendrograms constructed from cDNA versus genomic clones were nearly identical in their general grouping of species. The dendrograms revealed two major dichotomies in the genus: one corresponding to mating behavior [self-compatible (SC) versus self-incompatible (SI) species] and the other corresponding to fruit color (red versus green-fruited species). The ratio of withinversus between-accession diversity was much lower for SC species, indicating that most of the diversity within these species exists between populations, rather than within populations. Overall, the amount of genetic variation in the SI species far exceeded that found in SC species. This result is exemplified by the fact that more genetic variation could be found within a single accession of one of the SI species (e.g., L. peruvianum) than among all accessions tested of any one of the SC species (e.g., L. esculentum or L. pimpinellifolium). Results from this study are discussed in relationship to germ plasm collection/utilization and with regard to the use of RFLPs in tomato breeding and genetics.