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combinatorial explosion


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  • A phrase I picked up in college. It refers to a situation in which the number of elements is small, but the number of combinations of these elements is unmanageably vast.

    December 2, 2008

  • Isn't this what we have to thank for our ability to form potentially gazillions of antibodies?

    Also, one popular approach to discovering promising lead compounds during drug development is to synthesize a so-called combinatorial library of compounds from some fairly basic components, then run the compounds thus synthesized through a battery of automated activity and toxicity tests. The combinatorial libraries can get very big very fast.

    December 2, 2008