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An overview of the mechanisms of polymerization of ct-amino acid N-carboxyanhydrides is presented. Particular attention is paid to the seminal work of Bamford and his associates who carefully defined the scope of and the mechanistic factors involved in the polymerization of N-carboxyanhydrides. Special note is taken of the "active monomer" mechanism of polymerization originally proposed by Bamford. The basis for the elucidation of these mechanisms of polymerization is discussed.doi:10.1351/pac198153030699 fatcat:ukyip6plrfaizcwof2wu7ksppa