the objectives of this work were to investigate the genetic variation in 79 soybean (glycine max) accessions from different regions of the world, to cluster the accessions based on their similarity, and to test the correlation between the two types of markers used. simple sequence repeat markers present in genomic (ssr) and in expressed regions (est-ssr) were used. thirty ssr primer-pairs were selected (20 genomic and 10 est-ssr) based on their distribution on the 20 genetic linkage groups of soybean, on their trinucleotide repetition unit and on their polymorphism information content. all analyzed loci were polymorphic, and 259 alleles were found. the number of alleles per locus varied from 2-21, with an average of 8.63. the accessions exhibit a significant number of rare alleles, with genotypes 19, 35, 63 and 65 carrying the greater number of exclusive alleles. accessions 75 and 79 were the most similar and accessions 31 and 35, and 40 and 78, were the most divergent ones. a low correlation between ssr and est-ssr data was observed, thus genomic and expressed microsatellite markers are required for an appropriate analysis of genetic diversity in soybean. the genetic diversity observed was high and allowed the formation of five groups and several subgroups. a moderate relationship between genetic divergence and geographic origin of accessions was observed.