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
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
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
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