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Stem cell biology has provided constant alteration if not reversal of dogma related to the understanding of the behaviors of primitive and dynamic cells. This review summarizes recent findings on dynamic changes of phenotype that accompany the in vitro growth and differentiation of not only stem and progenitor cells, but also differentiated cells derived from a variety of normal and pathological tissues. As there are examples of apparent dedifferentiation and transdifferentiation of neural cells that appear to be terminally differentiated, there is a need to reconsider elements of cellular fate choice that have relevance to neurooncology and neural repair. Recent findings of dynamic behaviors and mixed phenotype of both normal and cancer stem cells suggest that some of the diverse lineage attributes of different solid tumors may owe their existence to dynamic cellular phenotypy gone awry.