Maintenance of myelopoiesis and pluripotential stem cell production for prolonged periods in vitro hitherto has been limited to mouse bone marrow culture. In an effort to adapt the system for use in higher species, particularly in human and non-human primates, studies were undertaken using the prosimian species, Tupaia glis (tree shrew). In a number of experiments the duration of sustained normal hematopoiesis observed in cultures of this species, following a single inoculum of 5 X 10(6)--10(7) bone marrow cells, with or without addition of fresh allogeneic bone marrow exceeded 1 yr. Analysis of suspension cells obtained by weekly demidepopulation of such cultures revealed production of CFU-C, differentiating neutrophils, and basophils at high levels. Direct comparison with murine cultures indicated that in both species a complex series of cellular interactions takes place within an adherent environment of marrow-derived endothelial cells, macrophages, and fat-containing cells. Certain functional and ultrastructural features served to distinguish murine from Tupaia marrow cultures, and the prolonged duration of in vitro hematopoiesis in the latter species could be attributed to a regenerative capacity possessed by its adherent hematopoietic microenvironment. The availability of this primate marrow culture system should facilitate studies of hematopoiesis, viral leukemogenesis, and transplantation biology, which have more direct relevance to man than that provided by the existing murine system.