the objective of this study was to evaluate the genetic variability of rice (oryza sativa) landraces collected in brazilian small farms. twelve simple sequence repeat (ssr) markers characterized 417 landraces collected in 1986, 1987 and 2003, in the state of goiás, brazil. the number of landraces with long and thin grain type increased in the evaluated period, probably due to market demand. based on the molecular data, the genetic variability increased during this period and, as per to the factorial correspondence analysis, most of the accessions were grouped according to the year of collection. the incorporation of modern rice cultivars in landrace cultivation areas and the selection carried out by small farmers are the most probable factors responsible for increasing landrace genetic variability, during the evaluated period. genotype exchange between farmers, selection practice and local environmental adaptation are able to generate novel adapted allele combinations, which can be used by breeding programs, to reinitiate the process.