SMITH, JOHN MAYNARD / Life sciences / Researchers

International Center for Scientific Research


Life sciences / SMITH, JOHN MAYNARD


Evolutionary biologist
Professor emeritus at University of Sussex, UK.

Research interests

Microbial evolution, including methods of assessing recombination from sequence data, and analysis of variation in Helicobacter and Neisseria. Evolution of human mitochondrial DNA sequences and investigation of evidence for extensive recombination.

John Maynard Smith is best known for his use of mathematical analyses in biology. Trained as an engineer and then as a biologist, Smith applied game theory to animal behavior and found that although variation exists, natural selection tends to maintain a balance between different characteristics within a species. This balance is called the "evolutionary stable strategy."

Prizes and awards

Crafoord Prize (1999), with Ernst Mayr and George C. Williams, "for fundamental contributions to the conceptual development of evolutionary biology"


Awadalla, P., Eyre-Walker, A. C,, Maynard Smith, J. (1999). Linkage disequilibrium and recombination Hominid mitochondrial DNA. Science 286: 2524 - 2525.

Szathmary, E., Maynard Smith, J. (1999). The origins of life. Oxford University Press.

Cooke, J., Novak, M. A., Boerlijst, M. & Maynard Smith, J. (1997) Evolutionary origins and maintenance of redundant gene expression during metazoan development. TIG 13, 360-364.

Novak, M. A. Boerlijst, M. C., Cooke, J. & Maynard Smith, J. (1997) Evolution of genetic redundancy. Nature 388, 167-171.

Taddei, F., Radman, M., Maynard Smith, J., Toupance, B., Gouyon, P. H. & Godelle, B. (1997) Role of mutator genes in adaptive evolution. Nature 387, 700-702.

Feil, E., Zhou, J., Maynard Smith, J. and Spratt, B. G. (1996) A comparison of the nucleotide sequences of the adk and recA genes of pathogenic and commensal Neisseria species: Evidence for extensive interspecies recombination within adk J. Mol. Evol. 43, 631-640.

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