Stem cell biology is scientifically, clinically, and politically a current topic. The hematopoietic stem cell, the common ancestor of all types of blood cells, is one of the best-characterized stem cells in the body and the only stem cell that is clinically applied in the treatment of diseases such as breast cancer, leukemias, and congenital immunodeficiencies. Multicolor cell sorting enables the purification not only of hematopoietic stem cells, but also of their downstream progenitors such as common lymphoid progenitors and common myeloid progenitors. Recent genetic approaches including gene chip technology have been used to elucidate the gene expression profile of hematopoietic stem cells and other progenitors. Although the mechanisms that control self-renewal and lineage commitment of hematopoietic stem cells are still ambiguous, recent rapid advances in understanding the biological nature of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells have broadened the potential application of these cells in the treatment of diseases.