The course of biomedical research and the practice of modern medicine
have crossed into a new frontier—that of molecular genetics.
The sequencing of the human genome will forever change the way that
we view disease, and, in many cases, will point the way toward cures
for diseases that we have not yet characterized. The disciplines
of musculoskeletal research and clinical orthopaedics are part of
this revolution. The following discussion highlights some of the
recent advances in molecular and genetic biology, describes their
possible application to the care of orthopaedic patients, and presents
some of the social and ethical issues associated with the use of gene-altering
therapy in humans.