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New book summarizes current knowledge on the biology of the vertebrate skeleton

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. (May 5, 2009) The cells, tissues, and organs that compose the skeletal system provide a supportive yet flexible framework that allows vertebrates to withstand earth's gravity yet remain mobile. Current knowledge about the vertebrate skeleton, especially recent research on skeletal development from embryo to adult, is summarized in a new monograph, The Skeletal System. Recently released by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, this book will serve as a reference for both scientists and clinicians.

"Our understanding of skeletal biology has taken tremendous strides during the past few years," wrote the editor, Olivier Pourqui, in the preface. "The goal of this book is to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date summary of the field." Each of the 13 chapters in the book was written by an expert on a specific topic.

The book addresses three major themes: development and patterning of bone, molecular control of cartilage and bone cell fates, and terminal differentiation and remodeling. The first is currently a major question in developmental biology: How does the body know to build bones in certain areas? The authors present advances in our understanding of the limb bud and long bone formation, segmentation and the spine, and craniofacial patterning. The origins and evolution of bone are also discussed.

The second theme considers the molecular basis of differentiation in cartilage and bone, and the regulation of these processes by transcription factors and signaling molecules. The third covers the composition of bone tissue, the extracellular matrix, mineralization, terminal differentiation, and remodeling. The genetics and molecular etiology of human skeletal diseases are also discussed.

Scientists undertaking research in developmental biology, cellular physiology, and vertebrate evolution will find The Skeletal System to be a useful reference. Doctors and medical researchers who are interested in the genetics and defects of the skeletal system will also find it helpful.


Contact: Ingrid Benirschke
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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New book summarizes current knowledge on the biology of the vertebrate skeleton
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