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Osteoarthritis (OA), one of the most common age-related chronic disorders of articular cartilage, joints, and bone tissue, represents a major public health problem. Genetic studies have identified multiple gene variations associated with an increased risk of OA. These findings suggest that there is a large genetic component to OA and that the disorder belongs in the multigenetic, multifactorial class of genetic diseases. Studies of chondrodysplasias and associated hereditary OA have provided a better understanding of the role of structural genes in the maintenance and repair of articular cartilage, in the regulation of chondrocyte proliferation and gene expression, and in the pathogenesis of OA.