Background and Aims: Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) is one of the key forage and amenity grasses throughout the world. In the UK it accounts for 70 % of all agricultural land use with an estimated farm gate value of evelopment6 billion per annum. However, in terms of the genetic resources available, L. perenne has lagged behind other major crops in Poaceae. The aim of this project was therefore the construction of a microsatellite-enriched genomic library for L. perenne to increase the number of genetic markers available for both marker-assisted selection in breeding programmes and gene isolation. Methods: Primers for 229 non-redundant microsatellite markers were designed and used to screen two L. perenne genotypes, one amenity and one forage. Of the 229 microsatellites, 95 were found to show polymorphism between amenity and forage genotypes. A selection of microsatellite primers was selected from these 95 and used to screen two mapping populations derived from intercrossing and backcrossing the two forage and amenity grass genotypes. Key Results and Conclusions: The utility of the resulting genetic maps for analysis of the genetic control of target traits was demonstrated by the mapping of genes associated with heading date to linkage groups 4 and 7.