Forty-four microsatellite DNA markers were developed for silver carp, and used to investigate polymorphisms of 41 wild silver carps and seven wild bighead carps collected from Jingzhou fragment of Yangtze River. In silver carp, 40 markers were polymorphic. A total of 297 alleles were detected at 40 polymorphic loci. The number of alleles per locus varied from two to 16 with an average of 7.4 and the expected heterozygosities of each locus ranged from 0.07 to 0.91 with an average of 0.69. All markers amplified both silver carp and bighead carp DNAs.