Cartilage diseases include a wide variety of clinical phenotypes from common osteoarthrosis to several different types of chondrodysplasias, i.e. 'disorders of cartilage', of which more than 100 different have been described. Patients frequently suffer from various symptoms affecting their joints and/or the growth of their long bones. The amount of hyaline cartilage at articular surfaces is often diminished and structurally abnormal. The surface of the cartilage may have an irregular appearance with defects extending into the subchondral bone. The major constituents of this hyaline cartilage are collagens and proteoglycans, the most abundant protein being type II collagen. It is a homotrimer of three identical alpha-chains, which are encoded by a single gene on human chromosome 12. The gene for type II collagen therefore became a likely candidate for some forms of chondrodysplasias and cartilage degeneration. Recently, both linkages and exclusions between this gene and various cartilage diseases have been reported and a growing number of mutations within the gene have also been identified.