Forkhead box P3 (FOXP3)(+) regulatory T (T(Reg)) cells are potent mediators of dominant self tolerance in the periphery. But confusion as to the identity, stability and suppressive function of human T(Reg) cells has, to date, impeded the general therapeutic use of these cells. Recent studies have suggested that human T(Reg) cells are functionally and phenotypically diverse. Here we discuss recent findings regarding human T(Reg) cells, including the ontogeny and development of T(Reg) cell subsets that have naive or memory phenotypes, the unique mechanisms of suppression mediated by T(Reg) cell subsets and factors that regulate T(Reg) cell lineage commitment. We discuss future studies that are needed for the successful therapeutic use of human T(Reg) cells.