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Nature. 2003 May 15;423(6937):343-8.

The genetic basis for skeletal diseases.

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Harvard Medical School, Department of Cell Biology, 240 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


We walk, run, work and play, paying little attention to our bones, their joints and their muscle connections, because the system works. Evolution has refined robust genetic mechanisms for skeletal development and growth that are able to direct the formation of a complex, yet wonderfully adaptable organ system. How is it done? Recent studies of rare genetic diseases have identified many of the critical transcription factors and signalling pathways specifying the normal development of bones, confirming the wisdom of William Harvey when he said: "nature is nowhere accustomed more openly to display her secret mysteries than in cases where she shows traces of her workings apart from the beaten path".

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