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AbstractThe existence of stem cells in human amniotic fluid was reported for the first time almost ten years ago. Since this discovery, the knowledge about these cells has increased dramatically. Today, amniotic fluid stem (AFS) cells are widely accepted as a new powerful tool for basic research as well as for the establishment of new stem-cell-based therapy concepts. It is possible to generate monoclonal genomically stable AFS cell lines harboring high proliferative potential without raising ethical issues. Many different groups have demonstrated that AFS cells can be differentiated into all three germ layer lineages, what is of relevance for both, the scientific and therapeutical usage of these cells. Of special importance for the latter is the fact that AFS cells are less tumorigenic than other pluripotent stem cell types. In this paper, we have summarized the current knowledge about this relatively young scientific field. Furthermore, we discuss the relevant future perspectives of this promising area of stem cell research focusing on the next important questions, which need to be answered.