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Looking for a Sugar Rush

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Science  19 Oct 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6105, pp. 321-323
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6105.321

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Summary

Our cells' sugars, called glycans, polysaccharides, or sometimes carbohydrates, are arguably as important as the nucleic acids DNA and RNA, proteins, and lipids. Yet scientists have never had the tools to synthesize and alter glycans in the same systematic way they've been able to with DNA and proteins, making glycans one of the least understood classes of molecules in biology. With an appreciation for the role of sugars rising rapidly among researchers and an influx of scientific talent into the field, glycoscience researchers say the time is ripe to make a big push to forge the suite of tools that they need to study their quarry. That was also the conclusion of a report released in August by the U.S. National Research Council.