We investigated the genetic variations of the samples that were tentatively identified as two cultivated Porphyra species (Porphyra yezoensis Ueda and Porphyra tenera Kjellm.) from various natural populations in Japan using molecular analyses of plastid and nuclear DNA. From PCR-RFLP analyses using nuclear internal transcribed spacer (ITS) rDNA and plastid RUBISCO spacer regions and phylogenetic analyses using plastid rbcL and nuclear ITS-1 rDNA sequences, our samples from natural populations of P. yezoensis and P. tenera showed remarkably higher genetic variations than found in strains that are currently used for cultivation. In addition, it is inferred that our samples contain four wild Porphyra species, and that three of the four species, containing Porphyra kinositae, are closely related to cultivated Porphyra species. Furthermore, our PCR-RFLP and molecular phylogenetic analyses using both the nuclear and plastid DNA demonstrated the occurrence of plastid introgression from P. yezoensis to P. tenera and suggested the possibility of plastid introgression from cultivated P. yezoensis to wild P. yezoensis. These results imply the importance of collecting and establishing more strains of cultivated Porphyra species and related wild species from natural populations as genetic resources for further improvement of cultivated Porphyra strains.