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Selected natural products have long been considered as desirable targets for total synthesis due to their unique biological properties and their challenging structural complexity. Laboratory synthesis of natural compounds usually relies on target-oriented synthesis, involving the production, isolation and purification of successive intermediates, requiring multiple steps to arrive to the final product. A far more economical approach using common synthetic scaffolds that can be readily transformed through biomimetic-like pathways to a range of structurally diverse natural products has been evolved in the last decade, leading synthesis to new directions. This tutorial review critically presents the hallmarks in this field.