Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) is a species in the large family of the Solanaceae and is important as an agronomic crop and as a model system in plant biotechnology. Despite its importance, only limited molecular marker resources are available that can be used for genome analysis, genetic mapping and breeding. We report here on the development and characterization of 5,119 new and functional microsatellite markers and on the generation of a high-resolution genetic map for the tetraploid tobacco genome. The genetic map was generated using an F2 mapping population derived from the intervarietal cross of Hicks Broadleaf x Red Russian and merges the polymorphic markers from this new set with those from a smaller set previously used to produce a lower density map. The genetic map described here contains 2,317 microsatellite markers and 2,363 loci, resulting in an average distance between mapped microsatellite markers which is less than 2 million base pairs or 1.5 cM. With this new and expanded marker resource, a sufficient number of markers are now available for multiple applications ranging from tobacco breeding to comparative genome analysis. The genetic map of tobacco is now comparable in marker density and resolution with the best characterized genomes of the Solanaceae: tomato and potato.