- combinatorial chemistry
Method by which large numbers of compounds can be made, usually utilizing solid-phase synthesis. In the simplest form carrier beads would be treated separately so as to couple subunits A, B, & C, mixed, re-divided, and then subunits A, B & C added in the three reaction mixtures. Thus bead +AA, AB, AC, BA, BB, BC etc would have been synthesized - though the products are mixed and deconvolution of an active mixture will be necessary to identify the active molecule. Using a relatively small number of reactions enormous diversity can rapidly be generated. Increasingly the term is used loosely for any procedure that generates highly diverse sets of compounds - the more recent tendency is to prefer high speed parallel synthesis in which each reaction chamber contains only one compound.
Dictionary of molecular biology. 2004.