Stem cells are self-replicating and undifferentiated, meaning their function is not yet cell, tissue, or organ-specific. Due to the unique nature of these cells, research into their biology and function holds great promise for therapeutic applications through replacement or repair of diseased and damaged cells. This reader-friendly manual provides a practical "hands on" guide to the culture of human embryonic and somatic stem cells. By presenting methods for embryonic and adult lines side-by-side, the authors lay out an elegant and unique path to understanding the science of stem cell practice. The authors begin with a broad-based introduction to the field, and also review legal and regulatory issues and patents. Each experimental strategy is presented with an historical introduction, detailed method, discussion of alternative methods, and common pitfalls. This lab guide for researchers also serves as a textbook for undergraduate and graduate students in laboratory courses.