Glycine-Ce(IV) salts and -KMnO4 initiator systems were used for the polymerization of acrylamide, resulting in water-soluble polyacrylamide, which contains amino acid end groups. The dependence of polymerization yields and molecular weights of polymers on the mole ratio of acrylamide monomer to glycine, the polymerization time, the temperature, and the concentration of sulfuric acid were investigated. The decrease in the mole ratio of acrylamide to glycine resulted in a decrease in the molecular weight, and an increase in the yield of acrylamide polymer, which contains a glycine end group. With increasing acid concentration of the polymeric solution, the polymerization yield and the molecular weight of polymer decrease. Ce(IV) and Mn(IV) reduced to Ce(III) and Mn(II) in the polymerization reaction. The amounts of Ce(III) and Mn(II) bound to polymer were determined. The composition of the polymerization product was investigated and a bimodal character of the molecular weight distribution was observed. The mechanism of this phenomena is discussed. (C) 1996 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.