We have characterized eight dinucleotide (dC-dA)n.(dG-dT)n repeat loci located on human chromosome 13q in eight human populations and in a sample of chimpanzees. Even though there is substantial variation in allele frequencies at each locus, at a given locus the most frequent alleles are shared by all human populations. The level of heterozygosity is reduced in isolated or small populations, such as the Pehuenche Indians of Chile, the Dogrib of Canada, and the New Guinea highlanders. On the other hand, larger average heterozygosities are observed in large and cosmopolitan populations, such as the Sokoto population from Nigeria and German Caucasians. Conformity with Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium is generally observed at these loci, unless (a) a population is isolated or small or (b) the repeat motif of the locus is not perfect (e.g., D13S197). Multilocus genotype probabilities at these microsatellite loci do not show departure from the independence rule, unless the loci are closely linked. The allele size distributions at these (CA)n loci do not follow a strict single-step stepwise-mutation model. However, this features does not compromise the ability to detect population affinities, when these loci are used simultaneously. The microsatellite loci examined here are present and, with the exception of the locus D13S197, are polymorphic in the chimpanzees, showing an overlapping distribution of allele sizes with those observed in human populations.