Lifelong self-renewal is a unique property of somatic stem cells. Recently, several primitive multipotent yet committed (non-self-renewing) hematopoietic progenitor populations were identified in mouse bone marrow. We have characterized the expression of 1200 selected mouse genes using the Atlas cDNA array in highly purified hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and 6 closely related progenitor populations: common myeloid progenitors (CMPs), granulocyte-macrophage progenitors (GMPs), megakaryocyte-erythrocyte progenitors (MEPs), common lymphoid progenitors (CLPs), and pro-T and pro-B cells. Cluster analysis revealed that nearly half of all differentially expressed transcripts are associated with HSCs, supporting the notion of an active transcriptional status of HSCs. Genes found enriched in the HSC cluster encompass many developmentally regulated genes, some previously associated with HSC self-renewal. In contrast, genes that are enriched in committed progenitors are mostly associated with hematopoietic differentiation, immune regulation, and metabolism. Thus, the transition from HSCs toward committed progenitors correlates with the down-regulation of a large number of HSC-associated genes and progressive up-regulation of a limited number of lineage-specific genes. These genetic analyses revealed both quantitative and qualitative differences between the transcripts associated with HSCs versus downstream progenitors and produced a list of the candidate genes, potentially involved in HSC self-renewal.