The stem cell leukemia (SCL) gene is essential for the development of hematopoietic stem cells in the embryo. Here, we used a conditional gene targeting approach to examine the function of SCL in adult hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Flow cytometry of bone marrow from SCL-deleted mice demonstrated a 4-fold increase in number of Linneg c-kit+ Sca-1 + cells. Despite this increase in the number of phenotypic HSCS, competitive repopulation assays demonstrated a severe multilineage defect in repopulation capacity by SCL-deleted bone marrow cells. SCL-heterozygous cells also showed a mild repopulation defect, thus suggesting haploinsufficiency of SCL. The transplantation defect of SCL-deleted cells was observed within 4 weeks of transplantation, indicating a defect in a multipotent progenitor or short-term repopulating HSCs. Although the defect persisted in secondary transplants, it remained relatively stable, suggesting that SCL was not required for self-renewal of the HSCs. Generation of SCL-deleted cells within SCL-wild-type mice rescued the early repopulating defect. Together, our results suggest that SCL is required for the normal function of short-term repopulating HSCs.