The analysis of seven Y-chromosome-specific microsatellite loci revealed a high level of polymorphism in two closely related human populations (Dutch, n = 89, and German, n = 70). Four of these loci were found to generate at least 77 different haplotypes, only 15 of which were shared by the two populations. These results demonstrate that highly informative PCR-based DNA typing of the Y chromosome is now feasible. Assuming a stepwise mutation model, a network comprising all minimum spanning evolutionary trees connecting the haplotypes was constructed. Analysis of molecular variance based upon this network indicated that the within-population heterogeneity with respect to haplotype descent was significantly smaller than the between-population heterogeneity, suggesting that males were more closely related to males from their own population as opposed to males from the other population. These findings suggest that Y-chromosomal microsatellites might be very useful not only for forensic purposes but also in association studies of multifactorial traits, allowing the characterization of the level of genetic distinctiveness of supposedly inbred or isolated populations and discrimination even between closely related populations.