A genealogic tree was constructed for inbred strains of the laboratory rat, including 63 strains and 214 of their substrains. Information on genetic and biochemical marker typings of these lines was collected from the literature and from the World Wide Web. Data on 995 polymorphisms were processed into a phylogenetic distance matrix, and a tree was obtained by the Fitch-Margoliash distance matrix method. The inbred strains of the laboratory rat showed an average polymorphism for pairwise comparison of 53%. Strain BN showed the highest genetic divergence from all the other ones. Comparison with the mouse phylogenetic tree indicated that laboratory rats possess a higher diversity than inbred strains of mice not derived from wild species. These results provide a phylogenetic basis in the choice of rat strains for genetic linkage experiments.