Coulson, Alan

  • Coulson, Alan (b.1947)
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


This collection contains the working papers of Alan Coulson, 1969-2002, including laboratory notebooks, correspondence, sequencing data, protocols, autoradiographs and gel pictures relating to early research on genetic sequencing undertaken at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, and later the Sanger Centre, Cambridge.

The papers cover sequencing development work with Fred Sanger on Bacteriophage R17 (RNA), Phi X 174, Mitochondrial DNA, and Lambda Phage; and extensive work carried out to map and sequence the genome C. elegans with John Sulston and Bob Waterston.

Original file titles have been retained.



Physical description

30 boxes, 10 oversize boxes


The files have been arranged with the assistance of Alan Coulson in order to best reflect how they were created and used. Arranged by section as follows:

A. Sequencing development work with Fred Sanger

B. C. elegans Genome Project

C. Other sequecning projects

Acquisition note

The archives were given to the library at Wellcome Collection by the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in April 2010.

Biographical note

Alan Coulson was born in Cambridge in 1947 and educated at Cambridge Grammar School for Boys and Deacon's School in Peterborough. In 1967 he received a HND in Applied Biology from Leicester Polytechnic. Between 1967-1983 Coulson worked alongside Fred Sanger on sequencing development work at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB). Upon Sanger's retirement in 1983, Coulson began working with John Sulston first at the LMB and subsequently at the Sanger Centre in Hinxton, on the mapping and sequencing of the reference genome for the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans(C. elegans). It was the first animal to have is genome sequenced. In 1994 Coulson completed his PhD entitled 'The Physical Map of the C. elegans Genome.' The genome was published in a special edition of Science on 11 December 1998. Alan Coulson continued to work at the Sanger Institute until February 2003 when he returned to the LMB until his retirement in 2007.

Location of duplicates

A digitised copy is held by Wellcome Collection as part of Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics

Permanent link


Accession number

  • 1731