News of the WeekOrganic Chemistry

Sugars Join the Automation Rush

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Science  02 Feb 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5505, pp. 805-806
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5505.805A

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In a paper published online by Science this week (, researchers report making an automated oligosaccharide synthesizer that cuts the time needed to synthesize these complex chains of sugars from months to hours. Mass-producing oligosaccharides and testing their effects on cells, researchers say, is likely to revolutionize the understanding of the role of these molecules in immunology, cancer biology, tissue development, and intercellular communication.