Stability and expression of the bacterial neomycin resistance gene (neor) transferred to human continuous marrow cultures by a retroviral vector [pZIP-NeoSV(X)] was evaluated over 4 weeks. Following infection of long-term human marrow cultures with pZIP-NeoSV(X), 10-15% of the stromal cells demonstrated high replating efficiency in a dose of the neomycin analogue G418 that was toxic to stromal cells from uninfected cultures. In contrast, G418 resistance was detected in ≤1% of GM-CFUc and CFU-GEMM derived from the same virus-infected compared to control cultures. Infection of human CFU-GEMM enriched 100× by monoclonal antibody selection with pZIP-NeoSV(X) did not increase the percentage of neor progenitors. Marrow cells from cultures infected with pZIP-NeoSV(X) and a replication competent amphotropic virus transferred the vector and G418 resistance to HeLa cells at a frequency of 1/105 for nonadherent and 1/104 for adherent cells. Two established human hematopoietic (HL60 and K562) and one stromal cell line (KM 101) stably expressed the neor gene. Thus, a higher efficiency of infection and expression of a gene transferred by pZIP-NeoSV(X) to permanent human hematopoietic tumor cell lines and fresh marrow stromal cells contrasts with a lower level of expression in fresh CSF-dependent human hematopoietic stem cells.