Resident lung stem cells function to replace all lineages of pulmonary tissue, including mesenchyme, epithelium, and vasculature. The phenotype of the lung side population (SP) cells is currently under investigation; their function is currently unknown. Recent data suggest lung SP cells are an enriched tissue-specific source of organ-specific pulmonary precursors and, therefore, a source of adult stem cells. The adult lung SP cell population has been isolated and characterized for expression of markers indicative of stem cell, epithelial, and mesenchymal lineages. These studies determined that the adult mouse lung SP has epithelial and mesenchymal potential that resides within a CD45- mesenchymal subpopulation, as well as limited hematopoietic ability, which resides in the bone marrow-derived CD45+ subpopulation. The ability to identify these adult lung precursor cells allows us to further study the potential of these cells and their role in the regulation of tissue homeostasis and response to injury. The identification of this target population will potentially allow earlier treatment and, long term, a functional restoration of injured pulmonary tissue and lung health.