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Department of Biological Science

at Florida State University

Biological Science Faculty Member

Dr. Karen M. McGinnis

  • Office: 2019 King Life Sciences
  • Office: (850) 645-8814
  • Lab: King Life Sciences
  • Lab: (850) 645-8815
  • Fax: (850) 645-8447
  • Mail code: 4295
  • E-mail:

Laboratory Home Page

Associate Professor
Ph.D., Arizona State University, 2000
Graduate Faculty Status

POSITIONS AVAILABLE for postdoctoral investigators, graduate students, and undergraduate students.

Currently accepting applications for summer 2017 undergraduate research opportunities.  Email Dr. McGinnis for application  instructions -- applications are due by 2/28/17.

Research and Professional Interests:

My long term goal is to understand how identical genomic sequences can be interpreted to cause distinct expression patterns and phenotypes. I am particularly interested in the regulation of epigenetic modifications that heritably alter the expression of endogenous and transgenic loci in plants. These phenomena have been shown to be key elements in the growth, development, and gene regulation of a broad range of organisms; I study them predominantly in maize.

(McGinnis Lab authors in bold print below)

Selected Publications:

Li, Q., J. I. Gent, G. Zynda, J. Song, I. Makarevitch, C. D. Hirsch, C. N. Hirsch, R. K. Dawe, T. Madzima, K. M. McGinnis, D. Lisch, R. J. Schmitz, M. W. Vaughn, and N. M. Springer (2015) RNA-directed DNA methylation enforces boundaries between heterochromatin and euchromatin in the maize genome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112: 14728-14733.
(Full text) (PDF

Li, Q., S. R. Eichten, P. J. Hermanson, V. Zaunbrecher, J. Song, J. Wendt, H. Rosenbaum, T. F. Madzima, A. E. Sloan, J. Huang, D. Burgess, T. Richmond, S. M. Kaeppler, K. M. McGinnis, R. Meeley, O. Danilevskaya, M. W. Vaughn, J. Jeddeloh, and N. M. Springer (2014) Genetic Perturbation of the Maize Methylome. The Plant Cell 26: 4602-4616.
(Full text) (PDF

Sloan, A. E., L. Sidorenko, and K. M. McGinnis (2014) Diverse Gene Silencing Mechanisms with Distinct Requirements for RNA Polymerase Subunits in Zea mays. Genetics 198: .
(Full text online) (PDF online

Gent, J. I., T. F. Madzima, R. Bader, M. R. Kent, X. Zhang, M. Stam, K. M. McGinnis, and R. K. Dawe (2014) Accessible DNA and relative depletion of H3K9me2 at maize RdDM loci. The Plant Cell .
(available online

Haag, J. R., B. Brower-Toland, , E. K. Krieger, L. Sidorenko, C. D. Nicora, A. Norbeck, A. Irsigler, H. LaRue, J. Brzeski, K. McGinnis, S. Ivashuta, L. Pasa-Tolic, V. L. Chandler, and C. S. Pikaard (2014) Functional Diversification of Maize RNA Polymerase IV and V Subtypes via Alternative Catalytic Subunits. Cell Reports 9: 378-390.
(PDF online

Madzima, T., J. Huang, and K. M. McGinnis (2014) Chromatin structure and gene expression changes associated with loss of MOP1 activity in Zea mays. Epigenetics 9: 1047-1059.
(Available online

Madzima, T. F., A. E. Sloan, L. Stroud, and K. M. McGinnis 2014 Chapter 9: Epigenomics  In  Genetics, Genomics and Breeding of Maize    
(Available from CRC Press

Vera, D. L., J. Labonne, P. Alam, T. Madzima, G. G. Hoffman, S. B. Gigimurugan, J. Zhang, K. M. McGinnis, J. H. Dennis, and H. W. Bass,  (2014) Differential nuclease sensitivity profiling of chromatin reveals biochemical footprints coupled to gene expression and functional DNA elements in maize. Plant Cell In press: .
(Available online

Fincher, J., D. Vera, D. D. Hughes, K. M. McGinnis, J. H. Dennis, and H. W. Bass (2013) Genome-wide prediction of nucleosome occupancy in maize (Zea mays L.) reveals plant chromatin structural features at genes and other elements at multiple scales. Plant Physiology 162: 1127-41.
(Available online

Labonne, J. D., J. E. Dorweiler, and K. M. McGinnis (2013) Changes in nucleosome position at transcriptional start sites of specific genes in Zea mays mediator of paramutation1 mutants. Epigenetics 8: 398-408.
(Available online

Boerner, S. L., and K. M. McGinnis (2012) Computational Identification and Functional Predictions of Long Noncoding RNA in Zea mays. PLoS One 7: e43047.
(Available online

Eichten, S. E., N. A. Ellis, I. Makarevitsch, C. Yeh, J. I. Gent, L. Guo, K. M. McGinnis, X. Zhang, P. S. Schnable, M. W. Vaughn, R. K. Dawe, and N. M. Springer (2012) Spreading of heterochromatin is limited to specific families of maize retrotransposons. PLoS Genetics 8: e1003127.
(Available online

Irsigler, A., and K. M. McGinnis 2011 Genetic resources for the study of epigenetic gene regulation in maize.  In  Epigenetics: A resource manual  Jeff Craig and Nick Wong Horizon Press 409-420 

Madzima, T. F., E. S. Mills, J. M. Gardiner, and K. M. McGinnis (2011) Identification of epigenetic regulators of a transcriptionally silenced transgene in maize. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 1: 75-83.

McGinnis, K. M. (2010) RNAi for plant functional genomics. Briefings in Functional Genomics and Proteomics doi:10.1093/bfgp/elp052: .

McGinnis, K. M. 2009 Use of transgene induced RNAi to regulate endogenous gene expression.   In  Methods in Molecular Biology M. Paul Scott  Humana Press 91-99 

Barbazuk, W. B., Y. Fu, and K. M. McGinnis (2008) Genome-wide analyses of alternative splicings in plants: opportunities and challenges.. Genome Research 18: 1381-1392.

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Bowler, C. A., and et al. (2008) The Phaeodactylum genome reveals the evolutionary history of diatom genomes. Nature 456: 239-244.

McGinnis, K. M., N. Murphy, A. Carlson, A. Akula, C. Akula, H. Basinger, M. Carlson, P. Hermanson, N. Kovacevic, M. McGill, V. Seshadri, J. Yoyokie, K. Cone, H. F. Kaeppler, S. M. Kaeppler, and N. M. Springer (2007) Assessing the efficiency of RNA interference for maize functional genomics. Plant Physiology 143: 1441-1451.

Alleman, M. A., L. Sidorenko, K. McGinnis, J. White, V. Seshadri, J. Dorweiler, K. Sikkink, and V. Chandler (2006) An RNA-dependent RNA polymerase is required for paramutation in maize. Nature 442: 295-298.

McGinnis, K. M., C. Springer, Y. Lin, C. C. Carey, and V. L. Chandler (2006) Transcriptionally silenced transgenes in maize are activated by three mutations defective in paramutation. Genetics 173: 1637-1647.

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