Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and downstream progenitors have long been studied based on phenotype, cell purification, proliferation, and transplantation into myeloablated recipients. These experiments, complemented by data on expression profiles, mouse mutants, and humans with hematopoietic defects, are the foundation for the current hematopoietic differentiation tree. However, there are fundamental gaps in our knowledge of the quantitative and qualitative operation of the HSC/progenitor system under physiological and pathological conditions in vivo. The hallmarks of HSCs, self-renewal and multipotency, are observed in in vitro assays and cell transplantation experiments; however, the extent to which these features occur naturally in HSCs and progenitors remains uncertain. We focus here on work that strives to address these unresolved questions, with emphasis on fate mapping and modeling of the hematopoietic flow from stem cells toward myeloid and lymphoid lineages during development and adult life.
Keywords: aging; barcoding; bone marrow stem cell transplantation; immune cell maintenance; lymphocyte development; mathematical modeling; myeloid cell development.