The phenotype of marrow hematopoietic stem cells is determined by cell-cycle state and microvesicle entry into the stem cells. The stem cell population is continually changing based on cell-cycle transit and can only be defined on a population basis. Purification of marrow stem cells only addresses the heterogeneity of these populations. When whole marrow is studied, the long-term repopulating stem cells are in active cell cycle. However, with some variability, when highly purified stem cells are studied, the cells appear to be dormant.