Subventricular zone (SVZ) cells proliferate spontaneously in vivo in the telencephalon of adult mammals. Several studies suggest that SVZ cells do not differentiate after mitosis into neurons or glia but die. In the present work, we show that SVZ cells labeled in the brains of adult mice with [3H]thymidine differentiate directly into neurons and glia in explant cultures. In vitro labeling with [3H]thymidine shows that 98% of the neurons that differentiate from the SVZ explants are derived from precursor cells that underwent their last division in vivo. This report identifies the SVZ cells as neuronal precursors in an adult mammalian brain.