Major advances have been made in the last 10 years in the genetics of skeletogenesis. This has followed the general progress in our understanding of the genetic control of development in chicken and mouse and more recent advances in human genetics. This large field now encompasses three smaller but distinct fields of investigation. Those are skeleton patterning, cell differentiation in the skeleton, and cell function in the skeleton. This review focuses primarily on advances in understanding cell differentiation and cell function in the skeleton at the genetic level. Dev. Genet. 22:301–313, 1998. © 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.