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A peptide library is an array of peptides, amino acid chains which are an important part of the building blocks of life. Peptide libraries can be prepared by companies which specialize in working with peptides and other biological materials, and they can also be made in the lab, at a lab which has the ability to synthesize peptides. Many researchers order their peptide libraries from companies which specialize in their production, with many companies being able to fill orders extremely quickly.
Many peptide libraries are produced on a solid backing such as resin or beads. They can also be supplied in vials or tubes. The peptide library can be used in a wide range of research applications where people want to work with various combinations of amino acids. The cost of the library varies, depending on what kind of library it is and how many peptides are involved.
One use for peptide libraries is in peptide screening. Researchers who want to identify specific peptides or learn more about the role of peptides in cells can also use libraries, as can people working in drug development, in which case a peptide library can be used to identify active compounds. Other uses include the purification of proteins and the development of synthetic vaccines. Peptide libraries can also be used to study signaling pathways in cells, and in epitope mapping.
Many labs can supply custom peptide libraries by request. These can be tailored for a specific purpose, and may include an array of specific peptides. Random libraries are also available. The peptide library usually comes with documentation clearly describing each peptide in the collection, so that people know what they have to work with. This documentation may also include a discussion of the methods used to generate the library, as this information can be important for researchers to have, especially if they are publishing research conducted with the assistance of the peptide library.
Peptide libraries are generally available to anyone who wishes to order them, as is the case with many biological materials used in research. Peptides are not tightly controlled because they are not viewed as potentially dangerous. This also makes it easy for labs and researchers to quickly obtain the peptides they need, rather than having to wait for clearance. By contrast, biological materials which can be dangerous, such as viruses, may be restricted so that they do not end up with people who could endanger themselves and others.