The identification of adult-derived stem cells which maintain plasticity throughout the course of a lifetime, has transformed the field of stem cell biology. Bone marrow derived hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) are the most well-characterized population of these multipotential cells. First identified for their ability to reconstitute blood lineages and rescue lethally irradiated hosts, these cells have also been shown to differentiate and integrate into skeletal muscle, cardiac myocytes, vascular endothelium, liver, and brain tissue. Various populations of HSC are being studied, exploiting cell surface marker expression, such as Sca-1, c-kit, CD34, and lin; as well as the abilityto efflux the vital dye Hoecsht 33342. Detection of engrafted donor derived cells into various tissue types in vivo is a laborious process and may involve detection of beta-galactosidase via colorimetric reaction or antibody labeling or green fluorescent protein (GFP) via fluorescence microscopy, as well as in situ hybridization to detect the Y-chromosome. Using these techniques, the search has begun for tissue specific stem cells capable of host tissue regeneration, self renewal, and transdifferentiation. Caution is urged when interpreting these types of experiments because although they are stimulating, limitations of the technologies may provide misleading results.