To elucidate the origin of naked barley, molecular variation of the marker sKT7 tightly linked to the nud locus was examined. A total of 259 (53 wild, 106 hulled domesticated, and 100 naked domesticated) barley accessions were studied. Restriction analysis of the sKT7 PCR-amplified product revealed the alleles I, II, III, and IV. All four alleles were found in wild barley, but allele IV was found only in a single accession from southwestern Iran. Hulled domesticated accessions showed alleles I, II, or III, but all naked domesticated accessions had allele IV. The distribution of allele IV in wild barley and its pervasive presence in naked domesticated lines support the conclusion that naked barley has a monophyletic origin, probably in southwestern Iran. The available results suggest two scenarios for the origin of naked barley: either directly from a wild barley with allele IV or from a hulled domesticated line with allele IV that later became extinct. Naked domesticated accessions from different regions of the world have extremely homogeneous DNA sequences at the sKT7 locus, supporting the monophyletic origin of naked barley. For allele IV, four haplotypes (IVb to IVe) were found in 30 naked accessions: IVb was predominant (66.7%) and widely distributed, while the other three haplotypes, differing by only one nucleotide at different positions relative to IVb, showed a localized distribution. The geographical distribution of the haplotypes of sKT7 allele IV suggests migration routes of naked domesticated barley in central and eastern Asia.