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Chemistry: Automation on the Upswing
Automated DNA and peptide synthesis have driven an explosion in the life sciences. Yet organic chemistry remains a stubbornly manual discipline. In recent years, academics and industry researchers alike have been working to develop robots that can automate the synthesis of both known and unknown compounds. Automation improves reproducibility, and frees up chemists to think, rather than fiddle with glassware. In academia, ambitious projects aim to make modular kits that could one day click together to produce an entirely new kind of chemistry. Such devices could accelerate organic syntheses, and improve their reliability. And they herald a potential democratization of the science, with portable, easy-to-use robots being deployed to places where drug supplies are scarce.
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