The potential of Aegilops tauschii, the diploid progenitor of the D genome of wheat, as a source of microsatellite markers for hexaploid bread wheat was investigated. By screening lambda phage and plasmid libraries of Ae. tauschii genomic DNA, dinucleotide microsatellites containing GA and GT motifs were isolated and a total of 65 functional microsatellite markers were developed. All primer pairs that were functional in Ae. tauschii amplified well in hexaploid wheat. Fifty-five loci amplified by 48 primer sets were placed onto a genetic framework map of the reference population of the International Triticeae Mapping Initiative (ITMI) 'Opata 85' x 'W7984'. The majority of microsatellite markers could be assigned to the chromosomes of the D genome of wheat. The distribution of the markers along the chromosomes is random. Chromosomal location of 22 loci nonpolymorphic in the reference population was determined using nullitetrasomic lines of Triticum aestivum 'Chinese Spring'. The results of this study demonstrate the value of microsatellite markers isolated from Ae. tauschii for the study of bread wheat. The microsatellite markers developed improve the existing wheat microsatellite map and can be used in a wide range of genetic studies and breeding programs.