Allan Maxam

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Allan Maxam
BornOctober 28, 1942 (1942-10-28) (age 81)
Known forMaxam–Gilbert sequencing
Scientific career
Doctoral advisorWalter Gilbert

Allan Maxam (born October 28, 1942) is one of the pioneers of molecular genetics. He was one of the contributors to develop a DNA sequencing method at Harvard University, while working as a student in the laboratory of Walter Gilbert.[1][2]

Walter Gilbert and Allan Maxam developed a DNA sequencing method - now called Maxam-Gilbert sequencing - which combined chemicals that cut DNA only at specific bases with radioactive labeling and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis to determine the sequence of long DNA segments.[3]

Allan Maxam and Walter Gilbert’s 1977 paper “A new method for sequencing DNA” was honored by a Citation for Chemical Breakthrough Award from the Division of History of Chemistry of the American Chemical Society for 2017. It was presented to the Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology, Harvard University.[4][1]


  1. ^ a b Maxam, A M; Gilbert, W (1977), "A new method for sequencing DNA.", Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (published Feb 1977), vol. 74, no. 2, pp. 560–4, Bibcode:1977PNAS...74..560M, doi:10.1073/pnas.74.2.560, PMC 392330, PMID 265521
  2. ^ DNA SEQUENCING AND GENE STRUCTURE, Walter Gilbert Nobel lecture, 8 December, 1980
  3. ^ Maxam AM, Gilbert W, Sequencing end-labeled DNA with base-specific chemical cleavages, Methods Enzymol. 1980;65(1):499-560
  4. ^ "Citations for Chemical Breakthrough Awards 2017 Awardees". Division of the History of Chemistry. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  • Gilbert, Walter and Maxam. Allan, The Nucleotide Sequence of the Lac Operator, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 70, 3581-3584 (1973).
  • Maxam AM, Tizard R, Skryabin KG, Gilbert W, Promoter region for yeast 5S ribosomal RNA, Nature. 1977 June 16;267(5612):643-5

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