CD34+ human marrow cells not expressing T cell-, B cell-, and myeloid cell-associated antigens (TBM-) were cloned by two-color cell sorting into culture wells containing irradiated marrow stromal cells. After 4 wk of culture, 3.7 +/- 2.1% of these cells generated colony-forming cells (CFC), with each of these cells generating 6.3 +/- 5.3 CFC. This was not due to the 0.5 +/- 0.5% CFC present in the purified CD34+ TBM- cells, as less than 1% of CFC persist in these cultures. This is the first demonstration that single immature precursor cells in human long-term cultures generate multiple CFC progeny. The immature nature of these clonable CD34+ TBM- precursors suggests their candidate status as human hematopoietic stem cells.

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