Twelve diverse genotypes from the genus Ribes were assayed for molecular polymorphisms using RAPD and inter-simple-sequence repeat (ISSR) markers. Levels of genetic diversity were high. Genetic relatedness of accessions from the different sections of the genus was estimated and similarity matrices were generated. The results indicate that valuable sources of novel genetic variation exist within the secondary gene pool available for the breeding of Ribes crops, and that this variation needs to be brought into existing breeding programmes at an early stage.