Mechanisms regulating self-renewal and cell fate decisions in mammalian stem cells are poorly understood. We determined global gene expression profiles for mouse and human hematopoietic stem cells and other stages of the hematopoietic hierarchy. Murine and human hematopoietic stem cells share a number of expressed gene products, which define key conserved regulatory pathways in this developmental system. Moreover, in the mouse, a portion of the genetic program of hematopoietic stem cells is shared with embryonic and neural stem cells. This overlapping set of gene products represents a molecular signature of stem cells.