Molecular analyses have become an integral part of biomedical research as well as clinical medicine. The definition of the genetic basis of many human diseases has led to a better understanding of their pathogenesis and has in addition offered new perspectives for their diagnosis, therapy and prevention. Genetically, human diseases can be classified as hereditary monogenic, acquired monogenic and polygenic diseases. Based on this classification, gene therapy is based on six concepts: (1) gene repair, (2) gene substitution, (3) cell therapy, (4) block of gene expression or function, (5) DNA vaccination and (6) gene augmentation. While major advances have been made in all areas of gene therapy during the last years, various delivery, targeting and safety issues need to be addressed before these strategies will enter clinical practice. Nevertheless, gene therapy will eventually become part of the management of patients with various liver diseases, complementing or replacing existing therapeutic and preventive strategies.