Microsatellite-containing sequences for the Betulaceae (Betula, Corylus, and Alnus) were retrieved front GenBank and used to develop twelve new microsatellite marker printer pairs that amplified and were polymorphic in european hazelnut (Corylus avellana). The printer pairs were characterized using 50 european hazelnut accessions. Nine of these microsatellites that segregated in a mapping population were assigned to linkage groups. The 12 new printer pairs will be useful in genetic studies in Corylus and Betula. To investigate transferability of microsatellite primer pairs in the family Betulaceae, we assessed the ability of 129 simple sequence repeat (SSR) printer pairs (75 from Corylus, 52 from Betula, and two from Alnus) to amplify DNA of 69 accessions representing diverse taxa Microsaellite primer pairs from Betula amplified 92% of Betula, 51% of Alnus, 41% of Corylus, 37% of Carpinus, 35% of Ostryopsis, and 34% of Ostrya accessions. In the 69 accessions, microsatellite primer pairs from Corylus amplified 81% of Corylus, 55% of Carpinus, 53% of Ostrya, 51% of Ostryopsis, 41% of Alnus, and 39% of Betula accessions. An additional 147 SSR primer pairs developed from Corylus, used to amplify a subset of 32 accessions, gave similar values: 92% in Corylus, 33% in Carpinus, 33% in Ostrya, 44% in Ostryopsis, 35% in Alnus, and 54% in Betula. The high transferability (>39%) of microsatellite primer pairs between Betula and Corylus will allow comparative studies of the two genera with the greatest economic importance.