The mouse genetic revolution has shown repeatedly that most organs have more functions than expected. This has led to the realization that in addition to a molecular and cellular approach there is a need for a whole-organism study of physiology. The skeleton is an example of how a whole-organism approach to physiology can broaden the functions of a given organ, reveal connections of this organ with others such as the brain, pancreas and gut, and shed new light on the pathogenesis of degenerative diseases affecting multiple organs.
Declaration of interest: There is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research reported.
Funding: No specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.