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Professor Ian Mackay

Ian MackayHead of Quantitative Genetics

T: +44 1223 342310
F: +44 1223 342269
E: Dr Ian Mackay

Ian Mackay joined NIAB in 2005. Beforehand he ran the Statistical Genetics section of Oxagen Ltd.; carrying out linkage and association analyses of complex diseases in humans. Prior to this he was co-founder and research director of the commercial plant breeding company Lion Seeds Ltd.

Ian’s principal research interest is in the application of quantitative genetics and statistics to improve the efficiency of plant breeding. He has contributed in a wide range of research fields covering field trial design, recurrent selection methods, novel and improved approaches to trait mapping, and genomic selection.

At NIAB Ian initiated development of MAGIC populations for fine mapping in wheat and has advocated and advised on the creation and use of these populations worldwide. He has been involved in trait mapping and genomic selection projects in wheat, barley and oats. He has used historical data from UK National & Recommended List trials to partition improvements in yield seen over the last 60 years into components attributable to plant breeding and to other factors. Ian developed and teaches a two week intensive course “Quantitative Methods in Plant Breeding”, run annually since 2008. He also teaches Quantitative Genetics elsewhere in the UK and abroad, is external examiner for the Edinburgh University Quantitative Genetics and Genomic Analysis masters programmes, and sits on the Advisory Board for the MSc in Plant Genetics and Crop Improvement at the University of East Anglia.

Recent publications

Hickey, J.M., Chiurugwi, T., Mackay, I. and Powell, W., 2017. Genomic prediction unifies animal and plant breeding programs to form platforms for biological discovery. Nature Genetics, 49(9), pp.1297-1303

Ladejobi, O., Elderfield, J., Gardner, K.A., Gaynor, R.C., Hickey, J., Hibberd, J.M., Mackay, I.J. and Bentley, A.R., 2016. Maximizing the potential of multi-parental crop populations. Applied & Translational Genomics, 11, pp.9-17

Camargo AV, Mott R, Gardner K, Mackay IJ, Corke F, Doonan J, Kim J, Bentley A,(2016) Determining phenological patterns associated with the onset of senescence in a wheat MAGIC mapping population. Front. Plant Sci. - Crop Science and Horticulture 7

Saccomanno B, Chambers AH, Hayes A, Mackay I, McWilliam SC, Trafford K (2016) Starch granule morphology in oat endosperm. Journal of Cereal Science Available online 11 November 2016

Ereful N, Liu L-Y, Tsai E, Kao S-M, Dixit S, Mauleon R, KATRINA Malabanan K, Thomson M, Laurena A, Lee D, Mackay I, Greenland A, Powell W, Leung H (2016) Analysis of allelic imbalance in rice hybrids under water stress and association of asymmetrically expressed genes with drought-response QTLs. Rice 9: 50.

Perera L, Baudouin L, Mackay I (2016) SSR markers indicate a common origin of self-pollinating dwarf coconut in South-East Asia under domestication Scientia Horticulturae. 211: 255-262.

Scutari M, Mackay I, Balding D (2016) Using Genetic Distance to Infer the Accuracy of Genomic Prediction. PLoS Genetics http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1006288 

Bentley A, Mackay I (2016) Advances in wheat breeding techniques. In: Achieving sustainable cultivation of wheat, Vol 1, Ed Langridge P. Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing Ltd

Gardner KA, Wittern LM, Mackay IJ (2016) A highly recombined, high‐density, eight‐founder wheat MAGIC map reveals extensive segregation distortion and genomic locations of introgression segments. Plant Biotechnology Journal 14:1406-1417

View a complete list of publications here.