Biology as Poetry: Chemistry

Bacteriophage Ecology Group

Synthesis (chemical)

Intentional effort, within the laboratory, to generate a specific product or products from specific reactants.

For biological molecules, chemical synthesis is equivalent to biosynthesis except in terms of where the chemical reactions actually take place (in vitro versus in vivo). Semisynthetic (as in semisynthetic drugs) can be viewed as a hybrid between chemical synthesis and biosynthesis.

Note that chemical synthesis, though often subject to substantial optimization, nevertheless typically is a somewhat inefficient process in terms of what products are yielded and in what quantities. Enzymes, by contrast, often can be much more effective in terms of driving reactions towards specific products, though even enzymes are not 100% effective in this regard.

Consider for comparison the concept of synthesis of ideas.

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