The prospects for the development of gene therapy treatments for certain orthopaedic diseases have been fueled by advances in the understanding of the molecular components of these disorders. These studies have identified molecules that could have therapeutic or reparative effects in certain settings. The ability to transfer and appropriately express the genes encoding these molecules is dependent on the availability of effective gene transfer vectors. Numerous vector systems have been used to transfer and express genes in joints with varied levels of success. The current review is designed to briefly outline the basics of the different gene transfer vector systems available for use by researchers in the orthopaedic fields.