Multiple tissue niches in the human body are now recognised to harbour stem cells. Here, we have asked how different adult stem cell populations, isolated from two ontogenetically distinct human organs (skin, pancreas), actually are with respect to a panel of standard markers/characteristics. Here we show that an easily accessible adult human tissue such as skin may serve as a convenient source of adult stem cell-like populations that share markers with stem cells derived from an internal, exocrine organ. Surprisingly, both, human pancreas- and skin-derived stem/progenitor cells demonstrate differentiation patterns across lineage boundaries into cell types of ectoderm (e.g. PGP 9.5+ and GFAP+), mesoderm (e.g. α-SMA+) and entoderm (e.g. amylase+ and albumin+). This intriguing differentiation capability warrants systemic follow-up, since it raises the theoretical possibility that an adult human skin-derived progenitor cell population could be envisioned for possible application in cell replacement therapies. © 2007 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.