Muskoxen are large herbivores living in Arctic environments. Lack of genetic variation in allozymes has made it difficult to study the social and genetic structure of this species. In this study, we have tried to find polymorphic microsatellite loci using both cattle-derived microsatellite primers and primers developed from a genomic plasmid library of muskoxen. Only limited variation was found for both sets of microsatellite loci. We conclude that this consistent low genetic variation is probably due to demographic features of the muskoxen populations rather than to methodological constraints caused by the transfer of microsatellites between species.