We aim to give a comprehensive review, updated to 2002, of the most important and representative molecular genetic studies, performed mainly within the past decade, that aimed to identify the gene(s) involved in osteoporosis. Early reviews were largely confined to association studies in humans, but we review here, separately, the results of both association and linkage studies in humans, and quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping in animal models. The main results of all the studies are tabulated for comparison and ease of reference, and to provide a comprehensive retrospective view of molecular genetics studies of osteoporosis. The most striking findings and the most representative studies are singled out for comment regarding the immediacy of their influence on present understanding of the genetics of osteoporosis and on the current status of genetic research in osteoporosis. This is particularly relevant for studies on the association of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene, for which there has been a large body of studies and reviews published. The format adopted by this review should be ideal for accommodating future new advances and studies in a fairly young field that is still developing rapidly.
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