Issue Date: January 15, 2007
Anthony B. Mauger writes that Bruce "Merrifield couldn't have imagined that his solid-phase approach would later be applied to the whole era of combinatorial synthesis" (C&EN, Nov. 6, 2006, page 4). This is incorrect.
As far back as 1971, Merrifield and his first graduate student, Garland R. Marshall, now a professor, advocated the benefits of filterable polymeric protecting groups ("Biochemical Aspects of Reactions on Solid Supports," G. Stark, editor, New York: Academic Press, 1971). In 1969, Merrifield had written that "a gold mine awaits discovery by organic chemists, who could use it to facilitate and direct their syntheses." Incidentally, Marshall also recently reminisced on his unpublished solid-phase synthesis of a dinucleotide as far back as 1965 (J. Pept. Sci. 2003, 9, 534).
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