Recent advances in synthetic carbohydrate chemistry have provided new strategies for creating the diversity of oligosaccharides needed to tackle many interesting problems in glycobiology. Many technical problems that hinder the development of combinatorial carbohydrate chemistry still exist and remain to be solved. Of particular importance is development of convenient and effective automated systems for the synthesis of oligosaccharides. Future efforts to reach this goal include, for example, the development of new methods and strategies for rapid assembly of oligosaccharides, the design of new orthogonal protecting groups, and the simplification of protecting group manipulation. Development of such automated systems easily accessible to both biologists and chemists will have a significant impact on our understanding of carbohydrates in biological systems and on the development of new therapeutics to modulate or to control carbohydrate functions.
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