Stem cells self-renew but also give rise to daughter cells that are committed to lineage-specific differentiation. To achieve this remarkable task, they can undergo an intrinsically asymmetric cell division whereby they segregate cell fate determinants into only one of the two daughter cells. Alternatively, they can orient their division plane so that only one of the two daughter cells maintains contact with the niche and stem cell identity. These distinct pathways have been elucidated mostly in Drosophila. Although the molecules involved are highly conserved in vertebrates, the way they act is tissue specific and sometimes very different from invertebrates.