Giants in History: Maqsudul Alam (14 December 1954 – 20 December 2014) was a biologist from Bangladesh who is renowned for his research on genome sequencing.
During his career, Alam led several international genome sequencing projects. He is especially recognized for decoding the genome sequences of two varieties of jute, an economically important plant used as a natural fiber. Alam and his team also sequenced the pathogenic soil fungus Macrophomina phaseolina, which infects many crops. The genomes of genetically modified papaya and rubber were also sequenced under Alam’s leadership. Alam’s work on genome sequencing led to a greater understanding of the functions of genes in plants and paved the way for genetic engineering to improve the quality of crops such as jute.