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J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2005 Nov;87(11):2550-64.

Molecular biology in orthopaedics: the advent of molecular orthopaedics.

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  • 1Center for Molecular Orthopaedics, Harvard Medical School, 221 Long-wood Avenue, BLI-152, Boston, MA 02115, USA. cevans@rics.bwh.harvard.edu


Molecular biology is the study, at the molecular level, of how genetic information is stored, inherited, and expressed and how it influences the structure and function of cells. Although molecular biology approaches have been used for decades in orthopaedic research, they are only now beginning to influence clinical practice. A variety of sophisticated techniques permit rapid and affordable DNA sequencing, gene expression profiling, gene cloning, gene manipulation, gene transfer, recombinant protein production, and other technologies of enormous biomedical importance. Success in genomics has spawned additional ambitious endeavors, including proteomics, pharmacogenetics, and bioinformatics. These techniques are providing new diagnostic, staging, prognostic, and therapeutic opportunities in all areas of medicine, including orthopaedics. With the use of molecular criteria, treatment of the orthopaedic patient may become more individualized, and greater emphasis will be placed on preventative strategies based on the patient's genetic makeup. Both surgical and nonsurgical decisions will increasingly accommodate molecular criteria.

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