Archaeological remains indicate that the origin of western agriculture occurred in a brief period about 10,500 years ago in a region of the Middle East known as the Fertile Crescent, where the wild progenitors of several key agricultural cereal species are endemic. Domestication entailed the appearance of agronomic traits such as seed size and threshability. For a representative sample of 20 domesticated barley (Hordeum vulgare) lines, including 13 two-rowed and 7 six-rowed varieties, we determined the haplotypes at seven loci-Adh2, Adh3, Amy1, Dhn9, GAPDH, PEPC and WAXY encompassing 5,616 bases per line-and compared them to the haplotypes at the same loci for 25 wild forms (Hordeum spontaneum) collected within and outside the Fertile Crescent. In comparisons of wild versus domesticated barley, the number of haplotypes (70 vs. 17), average nucleotide diversity, pi, (0.0077 vs. 0.0028), and Watterson's theta at silent sites (0.0104 vs. 0.0028) was reduced in domesticated lines. Two loci, Amy1 and PEPC, were monomorphic in domesticated lines; Amy1 and GAPDH produced significant values of Tajima's D. At GAPDH, pi was slightly higher in domesticated than wild forms, due to divergent high-frequency haplotypes; for the remaining six loci, 87% of nucleotide diversity has been lost in the domesticated forms. Bottlenecks acting on neutrally evolving loci either during the domestication process, during subsequent breeding, or both, are sufficient to account for reduced diversity and the results of Tajima's test, without the need to evoke selection at these loci. Phylogenetic networks data uncover distinct wild and domesticated barley genotypes and suggest that barley may have been domesticated in the Jordan valley. Because, based on AFLP data, the domesticated Turkish cultivars had a genetic basis as large as that present in large germplasm collections, all comparisons provided in this paper are of general value more than being restricted to the Turkish barley germplasm.