This paper presents a first genetic linkage map of the goat genome. Primers derived from the flanking sequences of 612 bovine, ovine and goat microsatellite markers were gathered and tested for amplification with goat DNA under standardized PCR conditions. This screen made it possible to choose a set of 55 polymorphic markers that can be used in the three species and to define a panel of 223 microsatellites suitable for the goat. Twelve half-sib paternal goat families were then used to build a linkage map of the goat genome. The linkage analysis made it possible to construct a meiotic map covering 2300 cM, i.e., > 80% of the total estimated length of the goat genome. Moreover, eight cosmids containing microsatellites were mapped by fluorescence in situ hybridization in goat and sheep. Together with 11 microsatellite-containing cosmids previously mapped in cattle (and supposing conservation of the banding pattern between this species and the goat) and data from the sheep map, these results made the orientation of 15 linkage groups possible. Furthermore, 12 coding sequences were mapped either genetically or physically, providing useful data for comparative mapping.