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PCR-based molecular markers are well suited for questions requiring large scale surveys of plant and animal populations. Inter-simple Sequence Repeats or ISSRs are analyzed by a recently developed technique based on the amplification of the regions between inverse-oriented microsatellite loci with oligonucleotides anchored in microsatellites themselves. ISSRs have shown much promise for the study of the population biology of plants, but have not yet been explored for similar studies of animals. The value of ISSRs is demonstrated for the study of animal species with low levels of within-population variation. Sets of primers are identified which reveal variation in two aphid species, Acyrthosiphon pisum and Pemphigus obesinymphae, in the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, and in a rotifer in the genus Philodina.