1,2-Amino alcohols are high-value, versatile functional groups that are found in scores of biologically active molecules and other interesting synthetic targets such as ligands and auxiliaries. Given their prominent position within organic compounds of import, it is no surprise to note that many routes have been developed to access this motif and there are many different starting points from which a synthetic chemist might embark on a synthesis. However, one particular approach stands out from the others, and this is the direct conversion of an alkene to a vicinal amino alcohol derivative (oxyamination). Research in this field has been particularly active in recent years and many interesting new methodologies have been reported. The purpose of this review is to give the reader a tour of the methods that have emerged in the last few years so one can appreciate the myriad of different metals and reagents that can accomplish the oxyamination of alkenes. There are still many challenges to be overcome and, herein, we also outline the areas that are ripe for further development and which bode well for the future.
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