The genetic variability of various local chicken populations derived from Bolivia, India, Nigeria and Tanzania was evaluated with 22 microsatellites. Between two and 11 alleles per locus were detected. All populations showed high levels of heterozygosity with the lowest value of 45% for the population named Aseel from India and the highest value of 67% for Arusha from Tanzania. A dendrogram was constructed based on CHORD distance by upg ma analysis. Within this tree the populations were assorted according to their geographical origin. Bootstrapping values within the dendrogram were between 37 and 99%. The contribution of the determination of genetic variability with genetic markers to the decision on conservation and/or further use of the populations in crossbreeding programs designed to create genetic stocks with improved adaptability and productivity in tropical countries is discussed.