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A fundamental question in stem cell research is whether cultured multipotent adult stem cells represent endogenous multipotent precursor cells. Here we address this question, focusing on SKPs, a cultured adult stem cell from the dermis that generates both neural and mesodermal progeny. We show that SKPs derive from endogenous adult dermal precursors that exhibit properties similar to embryonic neural-crest stem cells. We demonstrate that these endogenous SKPs can first be isolated from skin during embryogenesis and that they persist into adulthood, with a niche in the papillae of hair and whisker follicles. Furthermore, lineage analysis indicates that both hair and whisker follicle dermal papillae contain neural-crest-derived cells, and that SKPs from the whisker pad are of neural-crest origin. We propose that SKPs represent an endogenous embryonic precursor cell that arises in peripheral tissues such as skin during development and maintains multipotency into adulthood.