An historical study shows that the present day ex situ population of Edwards's Pheasant Lophura edwardsi, now numbering over 1,000 living specimens, originated in the 1920s from at least six different sources and c. 30 potential founders, including more males than females. Partial sequences, 820 nucleotides long, of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control-region were obtained in representatives of about half of 21 captive-reared bloodlines, identified from data in the revised International Studbook. All captive-reared birds had identical sequences. Sequences of mtDNA obtained from museum skins and samples of birds collected in the wild were slightly different from that representing the captivereared birds. The lack of mtDNA variability in the captive stock is probably due to the small number of founding females and genetic drift during c. 30 generations of captive breeding. Estimation of true extent of mtDNA sequence variability in historical and living wild Edwards's Pheasants awaits the procurement and analysis of more specimens. At least one bloodline of captive Edwards's Pheasant is polluted with exogenous genes resulting from past hybridization with Swinhoe's Pheasant L. sivinhoii. Edwards's Pheasant is more closely related to Vietnamese Pheasant L. hatinhensis and Imperial Pheasant L. imperialis than to several other taxa regarded as full species in the genus Lophura. However it is not yet possible to determine the extent of their evolutionary divergence and of their proper taxonomic rank. The initial results of this genetic research suggest that there should be efforts to (1) expand field sampling and genetic analyses of wild populations of Lophura species, (2) purge the captive stock of Edwards' Pheasant of all hybrids, (3) apply microsatellite analyses to estimate the level of genetic diversity in nuclear DNA.