The importance of the stromal tissue of the bone marrow in regulating hemopoiesis is well documented. However, several features of marrow stromal cell biology remain poorly understood, in particular, the ontogeny and phylogeny of the various stromal elements that comprise the microenvironment of the bone marrow. In this article we review recent data concerning the immunophenotype and functional characteristics of precursor cells for marrow stromal tissue. The study of these stromal precursor cells (SPC) represents an exciting new field of research that will almost certainly expand in the future as we gain a greater understanding of the cellular and molecular events, environmental cues, and growth factors that physiologically regulate the commitment and subsequent development of SPC. Although the field of marrow SPC biology is in its infancy, we predict that future studies will result in several novel clinical applications for SPC. We, therefore, conclude this article by speculating on a number of these potential applications and, thus, view SPC and their progeny as likely vehicles for several novel and important cellular therapies, including gene therapy.