The Chinese tree shrew ( Tupaia belangeri chinensis
) is a small experimental animal with a close affinity to primates. This species has long been proposed to be an alternative experimental animal to primates in biomedical research. Despite decades of study, there is no pure breed for this animal, and the overall genetic diversity of wild tree shrews remains largely unknown. In order to obtain a set of genetic markers for evaluating the genetic diversity of tree shrew wild populations and tracing the lineages in inbreeding populations, we developed 12 polymorphic microsatellite markers from the genomic DNA of the tree shrew. An analysis of a wild population of 117 individuals collected from the suburb of Kunming, China, showed that these loci exhibited a highly expected heterozygosity (0.616). These 12 microsatellites were sufficient for individual identification and parentage analysis. The microsatellite markers developed in this study will be of use in evaluating genetic diversity and lineage tracing for the tree shrew.