Intra and inter-species ISSR variation and use of ISSR markers in determination of genetic relationship were investigated in an accession collection representing two perennial and six annual Cicer species. Screening of Cicer accessions with SSR primers revealed highly reproducible amplicon profiles with relatively high multiplex ratios. Many of the primers generated amplicon profiles with which not only the differences among species can readily be identified, but also polymorphisms within species could be detected more efficiently. PCR products at 150 gel positions detected using six SSR primers in Cicer accessions were treated as dominant DNA markers and utilized to compute the distances among accessions and species. Cluster analysis of accessions and species revealed groupings that corroborate our previous studies of relationships based on allozyme and AFLP analysis. Consistent with the AFLP analysis carried out in the same accession collection, ISSR-based groupings indicated that perennial C. incisum is genetically close to the annuals of the second crossability group (C. pinnatifidum, C. bijugum, C. judaicum) while C. reticulatum is the closest wild species to the cultivated chickpea. ISSR-based variation estimates were relatively higher when compared to previous estimates computed from RAPD and AFLP data. Technically, ISSR analysis combines the PCR-based targeting of microsatellite-associated polymorphisms with no prior sequence requirement and stringent PCR conditions. Similarly, when compared to AFLP analysis, it is less technically demanding allowing to survey polymorphic loci in the genome. Thus, ISSR-PCR technology is a reliable, fast, and cost-effective marker system that can be used to study genetic variation and genetic relationships in the genus Cicer.