A directed cross-aldol reaction of silyl enol ethers with carbonyl compounds, such as aldehydes and ketones, promoted by a Lewis acid, a reaction which is now widely known as the Mukaiyama aldol reaction. It was first reported in 1973, and this year marks the 40th anniversary. The directed cross-aldol reactions mediated by boron enolates and tin(II) enolates also emerged from the Mukaiyama laboratory. These directed cross-aldol reactions have become invaluable tools for the construction of stereochemically complex molecules from two carbonyl compounds. This Minireview provides a succinct historical overview of their discoveries and the early stages of their development.
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