A new concept for the creation of enzymes displaying improved enantioselectivity in a given reaction is described; it is based on "evolution in the test tube". Accordingly, proper molecular biological methods for random mutagenesis, gene expression, and high-throughput screening systems for the rapid assay of enantioselectivity are combined. Several rounds of mutagenesis and screening are generally necessary in order to create mutant enzymes that show high degrees of enantioselectivity, as in the case of the lipase-catalyzed hydrolytic kinetic resolution of a chiral ester in which the original enantioselectivity of 2 % ee (E = 1) increases to > 90% ee (E = 25).
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