Recent evidence suggests chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) stem cells are insensitive to kinase inhibitors and responsible for minimal residual disease in treated patients.We investigated whether CML stem cells, in a transgenic mouse model of CML-like disease or derived from patients, are dependent on Bcr-Abl. In the transgenic model, after retransplantation, donor-derived CML stem cells in which Bcr-Abl expression had been induced and subsequently shut off were able to persist in vivo and reinitiate leukemia in secondary recipients on Bcr-Abl reexpression. Bcr-Abl knockdown in human CD34+ CML cells cultured for 12 days in physiologic growth factors achieved partial inhibition of Bcr-Abl and downstream targets p-CrkL and p-STAT5, inhibition of proliferation and colony forming cells, but no reduction of input cells. The addition of dasatinib further inhibited p-CrkL and p-STAT5, yet only reduced input cells by 50%. Complete growth factor withdrawal plus dasatinib further reduced input cells to 10%; however, the surviving fraction was enriched for primitive leukemic cells capable of growth in a long-term culture-initiating cell assay and expansion on removal of dasatinib and addition of growth factors. Together, these data suggest that CML stem cell survival is Bcr-Abl kinase independent and suggest curative approaches in CML must focus on kinase-independent mechanisms of resistance. © 2012 by The American Society of Hematology.