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Radboud University Nijmegen

Introduction to Retrosynthetic Analysis

Chemical reactions can be viewed in two directions: the synthetic direction, corresponding to laboratory operations, and the retrosynthetic (or antithetic) direction, going backwards from a target molecule to starting materials by way of retro-reactions or transforms. Retrosynthesis is often applied when a synthetic route to a target molecule has to be developed. The term retrosynthetic analysis, a synonym for retrosynthesis, expresses more clearly its `imaginary' character.

The most important computer programs for synthesis design (a prime example is LHASA) operate in a retrosynthetic fashion. The reason for this is that retrosynthetic analysis lends itself well to a description in algorithms and thence in computer programs.


The following chapters provide an overview of retrosynthetic analysis:

Page author: Martin Ott Last update: Wednesday, 1 September 2004