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The gains from breaking symmetry

All-carbon quaternary centres are challenging targets in organic synthesis. Now, the development of a zinc-catalysed desymmetrization method enables the synthesis of chiral alcohols with all-carbon quaternary centres by the selective reduction of symmetrical α,α-disubstituted malonates.

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Fig. 1: Zinc-catalysed desymmetrization reaction of malonic esters.


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Correspondence to Marcin Kwit.

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Gajewy, J., Kwit, M. The gains from breaking symmetry. Nat. Chem. 13, 623–624 (2021).

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