Times have certainly changed since the first automated peptide synthesizer hit the market in the mid-1980s. Early machines were capable of processing one peptide at a time, a major improvement over manually adding reagents, washing between reactions, and moving on to the next step. You just set up the synthesizer, and in the morning there was your peptide. Nowadays, the choices are growing, as more manufacturers offer instruments for large-scale preparation or for multiple, simultaneous preparation of up to 96 peptides.

Moreover, there is now one instrument on the market, with the possibility of others to come, that allows control of reaction temperature and atmosphere. Such instruments are intended as general-purpose organic synthesizers capable of stringing together a variety of reactants, not only for peptide synthesis but also for oligonucleotide synthesis or for use in combinatorial chemistry, in which complex multifunctional molecules are built up from a pantheon of monomers....

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