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Nat Biotechnol. 2002 Dec;20(12):1251-5. Epub 2002 Nov 11.

Synthetic shuffling expands functional protein diversity by allowing amino acids to recombine independently.

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Maxygen, 515 Galveston Drive, Redwood City, CA 94063, USA.


We describe synthetic shuffling, an evolutionary protein engineering technology in which every amino acid from a set of parents is allowed to recombine independently of every other amino acid. With the use of degenerate oligonucleotides, synthetic shuffling provides a direct route from database sequence information to functional libraries. Physical starting genes are unnecessary, and additional design criteria such as optimal codon usage or known beneficial mutations can also be incorporated. We performed synthetic shuffling of 15 subtilisin genes and obtained active and highly chimeric enzymes with desirable combinations of properties that we did not obtain by other directed-evolution methods.

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