We have used three different microsatellites (on chromosome 12 and Y) together with HLA class II oligonucleotide typing (DQA and DQB) to analyze families of Yanomami indians settling in villages in Southern Venezuela. There exist complex networks of biological relationship between villages as a result of wife exchange, village fissioning and changing patterns of alliances associated with inter-village warfare. Social status in this society is largely determined by the kinship system. Polygyny is common, especially among headmen, with additional wives, frequently being chosen among the sisters of the first wife. Our preliminary results mainly obtained from inhabitants of the village HAP show the expected allele distribution in populations with a high degree of consanguinity: (i) deficiency of observed heterozygotes at the autosomal loci and (ii) almost all men carry the same Y chromosomal allele. Nevertheless in the Yanomami village two thirds of the described autosomal microsatellite alleles were identified. Several paternities were clarified.