Associate Professor Richard Macknight

  • Biochemistry Department
  • School of Biomedical Sciences
  • University of Otago
  • P.O. Box 56
  • 710 Cumberland St
  • Dunedin 9054 , New Zealand
  • Tel.: 64 3 479-5149
  • Fax: 64 3 479-7866

My research group is focused on understand plant development, in particular on how flowering time is regulated and how seeds develop. We are currently using molecular-genetic approaches to:

  • Investigate the regulation of flowering in Arabidopsis and in the model legume, Medicago truncatula.
  • Identify and characterise imprinted genes.
  • Discover genes involved in Arabidopsis seed development.
  • Identify of genes for enhanced hybrid onion production.


  • Richard Macknight and George Poulter
  • 2015, Health Sciences Research Translation Award, First
  • George Poulter
  • 2014, Best student oral presentation, MapNet Meeting and Workshop
  • Jared Fudge
  • 2012, New Zealand Society for Plant Biology Student Poster Prize at ComBio, 1st place

Selected Publications

Jiffinvir S Khosa, Robyn Lee, Sophia Bräuning, Janice Lord, Meeghan Pither-Joyce, John McCallum, and Richard C Macknight., Doubled Haploid 'CUDH2107' as a Reference for Bulb Onion (Allium cepa L.) Research: Development of a Transcriptome Catalogue and Identification of Transcripts Associated with Male Fertility., PLoS ONE 2016 vol. 11 (11) p. e0166568., Link »

Stephen Ridge, Frances C Sussmilch, Valerie Hecht, Jacqueline K Vander Schoor, Robyn Lee, Gregoire Aubert, Judith Burstin, Richard C Macknight, and James L Weller., Identification of LATE BLOOMER2 as a CYCLING DOF FACTOR Homolog Reveals Conserved and Divergent Features of the Flowering Response to Photoperiod in Pea., Plant Cell 2016 vol. 28 (10) pp. 2545-2559., Link »

Roger P Hellens, Chris M Brown, Matthew A W Chisnall, Peter M Waterhouse, and Richard C Macknight, The Emerging World of Small ORFs, Trends Plant Sci 2015, Link »

Hongyu Zhang, Ming Luo, Robert C Day, Mark J Talbot, Aneta Ivanova, Anthony R Ashton, Abed M Chaudhury, Richard C Macknight, Maria Hrmova, and Anna M Koltunow., Developmentally regulated HEART STOPPER, a mitochondrially targeted L18 ribosomal protein gene, is required for cell division, differentiation, and seed development in Arabidopsis., Journal of Experimental Botany 2015, Link »

William A Laing, Marcela Martínez-Sánchez, Michele A Wright, Sean M Bulley, Di Brewster, Andrew P Dare, Maysoon Rassam, Daisy Wang, Roy Storey, Richard C Macknight, and Roger P Hellens., An Upstream Open Reading Frame Is Essential for Feedback Regulation of Ascorbate Biosynthesis in Arabidopsis., The Plant Cell, 27(3), 772–786, Link »

Wong, A. C. S., Hecht, V. F. G., Picard, K., Diwadkar, P., Laurie, R. E., Wen, J., et al., Isolation and functional analysis of CONSTANS-LIKE genes suggests that a central role for CONSTANS in flowering time control is not evolutionarily conserved in Medicago truncatula., Frontiers in Plant Science, (2014) 5, 486., Link »

Rowan P Herridge, Robert C Day, and Richard C Macknight, The role of the MCM2-7 helicase complex during Arabidopsis seed development., Plant Molecular Biology 2014, Link »

M. Jaudal, J Monash, L. Zhang, J. Wen, K.S. Mysore, R Macknight, and J Putterill, Overexpression of Medicago SVP genes causes floral defects and delayed flowering in Arabidopsis but only affects floral development in Medicago, Journal of Experimental Botany 2014 vol. 65 (2) pp. 429-442, Link »

Robert Day and Richard Macknight, Screening for imprinted genes using high-resolution melting analysis of PCR amplicons., Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, NJ) 2014 vol. 1112 pp. 71-83, Link »

S Baldwin, R Revanna, M Pither-Joyce, M Shaw, K Wright, S Thomson, L Moya, R Lee, R Macknight, and J McCallum, Genetic analyses of bolting in bulb onion (Allium ceps L.), Theoretical And Applied Genetics 2014 vol. 127 (3) pp. 535-547, Link »

Robyn Lee, Samantha Baldwin, Fernand Kenel, John McCallum, and Richard Macknight, FLOWERING LOCUS T genes control onion bulb formation and flowering., Nature Communications 2013 vol. 4 p. 2884, Link »

Kelsey Picard, Robyn Lee, Roger Hellens, and Richard Macknight, Transient Gene Expression in Medicago truncatula Leaves via Agroinfiltration., Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, NJ) 2013 vol. 1069 pp. 215-226, Link »

Donna M Bond, Nick W Albert, Robyn H Lee, Gareth B Gillard, Chris M Brown, Roger P Hellens, and Richard C Macknight., Infiltration-RNAseq: transcriptome profiling of Agrobacterium-mediated infiltration of transcription factors to discover gene function and expression networks in plants., Plant Methods 2016 vol. 12 (1) p. 41, Link »

Liew LC, Hecht V, Laurie RE, Knowles CL, Vander Schoor JK, Macknight RC, Weller JL (2009) DIE NEUTRALIS and LATE BLOOMER 1 contribute to regulation of the pea circadian clock. Plant Cell 21: 3198-211.

Day RC, Müller S, Macknight RC. (2009) Identification of cytoskeleton-associated genes expressed during Arabidopsis syncytial endosperm development. Plant Signal Behav. 4:883-6.

Risk JM, Day CL, Macknight RC. (2009) Re-evaluation of abscisic acid (ABA) binding assays shows that GCR2 does not bind ABA. Plant Physiol, 150: 6-11.

Risk JM, Macknight RC, Day CL (2008) FCA does not bind abscisic acid. Nature. 456:E5-6.

Day RC, Herridge RP, Ambrose BA, Macknight RC.(2008)Transcriptome analysis of proliferating Arabidopsis endosperm reveals biological implications for the control of syncytial division, cytokinin signaling, and gene expression regulation. Plant Physiol. 148(4):1964-84.

Day, R.C., McNoe, L. and Macknight, R.C. (2007). Evaluation of global RNA amplification and its use for high throughput transcript analysis of laser-microdissected endosperm. International journal of Plant Genomics, 61028.

Day, R.C., McNoe, L. and Macknight, R.C. (2007). Transcript analysis of laser microdissected plant cells. Physiologia Plantarum, 129:267-282.

Day R, Grossniklaus U, Macknight R. (2005). Be more specific! Laser-assisted microdissection of plant cells. Trends in Plant Sciences, 10, 397-406

Winichayakul S, Beswick NL, Dean C, Macknight R. (2005). Components of the Arabidopsis autonomous floral promotion pathway, FCA and FY, are conserved in monocots. Functional Plant Biology 32,345–355

Hecht V, Foucher F, Ferrandiz C, Macknight R, Navarro C, Morin J, Vardy ME, Ellis N, Beltran JP, Rameau C, Weller JL. (2005). Conservation of Arabidopsis flowering genes in model legumes.Plant Physiol. 137: 1420-34