Research on the biology, regulation, and transplantation of human hematopoietic stem cells requires test systems for the detection, monitoring, and quantitation of these cells. Xenografted animal models provide suitable stem cell assays, since they allow long-term engraftment, multilineage differentiation, and serial transfer of human hematopoietic cells. Recent techniques for the separation of hematopoietic cells have provided highly purified cellular subsets selected on the basis of the surface marker phenotype. The stem cell content of these subsets, however, is still unclear. Also, innovative approaches for the induction of hematopoietic cell proliferation and differentiation have generated ex vivo manipulated cells whose biological properties and functions still remain to be assessed. This paper reports on the biological characterization of these cell populations by the use of xenograft models.