This report describes the establishment directly from normal preimplantation mouse embryos of a cell line that forms teratocarcinomas when injected into mice. The pluripotency of these embryonic stem cells was demonstrated conclusively by the observation that subclonal cultures, derived from isolated single cells, can differentiate into a wide variety of cell types. Such embryonic stem cells were isolated from inner cell masses of late blastocysts cultured in medium conditioned by an established teratocarcinoma stem cell line. This suggests that such conditioned medium might contain a growth factor that stimulates the proliferation or inhibits the differentiation of normal pluripotent embryonic cells, or both. This method of obtaining embryonic stem cells makes feasible the isolation of pluripotent cells lines from various types of noninbred embryo, including those carrying mutant genes. The availability of such cell lines should made possible new approaches to the study of early mammalian development.