We have used the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) techniques to design two genetic markers for blue mussels in the Mytilus edulis species complex. Both of these markers target the gene encoding the mussel polyphenolic adhesive protein. The first marker, Glu-5', is highly differentiated among and can be used to identify the three blue mussel species, M. edulis, M. galloprovincialis and M. trossulus. The second marker, Glu-3', can identify M. edulis and M. galloprovincialis. Using these markers we have demonstrated that hybrid mussels from Whitsand Bay, UK carry alleles for this gene that are the products of intragenic recombination. The high frequency (10 per cent) of these recombinant alleles within the hybrid population suggests that recombination is fairly frequent within this gene or that hybridization between M. edulis and M. galloprovincialis is substantial and has been occurring over considerable evolutionary time. The two novel genetic markers, Glu-5' and Glu-3' will be invaluable in additional studies regarding the importance of hybridization among blue mussels.