The transcriptional profiles of mouse embryonic, neural, and hematopoietic stem cells were compared to define a genetic program for stem cells. A total of 216 genes are enriched in all three types of stem cells, and several of these genes are clustered in the genome. When compared to differentiated cell types, stem cells express a significantly higher number of genes (represented by expressed sequence tags) whose functions are unknown. Embryonic and neural stem cells have many similarities at the transcriptional level. These results provide a foundation for a more detailed understanding of stem cell biology.