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Reliable and rapid access to defined biopolymers by automated DNA and peptide synthesis has fundamentally altered biological research and medical practice. Similarly, the procurement of defined glycans is key to establishing structure-activity relationships and thereby progress in the glycosciences. Here, we describe the rapid assembly of oligosaccharides using the commercially available Glyconeer 2.1 automated glycan synthesizer, monosaccharide building blocks, and a linker-functionalized polystyrene solid support. Purification and quality-control protocols for the oligosaccharide products have been standardized. Synthetic glycans prepared in this way are useful reagents as the basis for glycan arrays, diagnostics, and carbohydrate-based vaccines.

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This paper(from two groups at Yale’s chemistry department) addresses several important things that fall into the “important irritants” category in synthesis and molecular biology – or maybe that should be “irritatingly important”....