This book is volume 6 in the Topics in Bone Biology series, which provides a comprehensive overview of the increasing knowledge in bone development from molecular and genetic studies. The complexity of the issues addressed highlights the need for such a reference for researchers in this field. However, readers without some prior understanding of basic concepts in cell and molecular biology might find the book pitched at a much higher level.
The book appropriately opens with a brief introduction to the processes of bone formation and provides an overview of the topics in the chapters to come. The importance of transcriptional controls in chondrocyte, osteoblast, and osteoclast differentiation is highlighted, as well as bone cell coupling, together with effects from steroid hormones. Examples of genetic disorders are presented to illustrate the basic principles linking genetics to abnormal bone development due to mutations in signaling molecules (achondroplasia), extracellular matrix proteins (osteogenesis imperfecta and Marfan syndrome), modifying enzymes (hereditary multiple exostosis), intracellular scaffold/adaptor proteins (Paget disease), and others. The concept of epigenetic controls is introduced, albeit briefly. This new area, while important for a full understanding of gene regulation in skeletal development, is not further discussed in subsequent chapters.