Pineapple (Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.) cultivars, often derived from somatic mutations, are propagated vegetatively. It has been suggested by isozyme data that there is little genetic variation among Smooth Cayenne cultivars. A thorough investigation of the genetic variation within the cultivated speciesAnanas comosus, particularly among commercial cultivars, will provide critical information needed for crop improvement and cultivar protection. One-hundred and forty-eight accessions ofA. comosus and 14 accessions of related species were evaluated with AFLP markers. The average genetic similarity ofA. comosus was 0.735 ranging from 0.549 to 0.972, suggesting a high degree of genetic variation within this species. With AFLP markers, discrete DNA fingerprints were detected for each commercial cultivar, breeding line, and intra-specific hybrid. Self-incompatibility, high levels of somatic mutation, and intraspecific hybridization may account for this high degree of variation. However, major cultivar groups of pineapple, such as Cayenne, Spanish, and Queen, could not be distinctively separated. These cultivar groups are based on morphological similarity, and the similar appearance can be caused by a few mutations that occurred on different genetic background. Our results suggest that there is abundant genetic variation within existing pineapple germplasm for selection, and discrete DNA fingerprinting patterns for commercial cultivars can be detected for cultivar protection. The genetic diversity and relationships of fourAnanas species are also discussed.