Proteins have become accessible targets for chemical synthesis. The basic strategy is to use native chemical ligation, Staudinger ligation, or other orthogonal chemical reactions to couple synthetic peptides. The ligation reactions are compatible with a variety of solvents and proceed in solution or on a solid support. Chemical synthesis enables a level of control on protein composition that greatly exceeds that attainable with ribosome-mediated biosynthesis. Accordingly, the chemical synthesis of proteins is providing previously unattainable insight into the structure and function of proteins.