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Kenneth McNally

Kenneth McNally

Senior Scientist II - Rice Genomics, Head of Bioinformatics, and Coordinator for the International Rice Informatics Consortium


Dr. McNally's team works on the Genomics of diverse rice, applied Computational Genetics, Bioinformatics and Biosystematics. These efforts create various resources: large-scale sequencing and genotyping datasets (e.g. the 3000 Rice Genomes);  pre-breeding populations (RILs, BILs, NAM and MAGIC); high quality, multiple reference genomes for cultivated and wild rice; databases and tools (SNP-Seek database and the Rice Galaxy). Breeders, geneticists, and physiologists make use of these to understand the links between genotypes and phenotypes; in other words, what genes or genomic regions are associated with a trait of interest, its expression and regulation. This information can then be applied in current (or future) rice improvement programs using molecular breeding and genomic selection methods. In 2012, Dr. McNally launched the International Rice Informatics Consortium that was formalized in 2013 and serves to engage the global rice community and support the development of open resources.

Fields of specialization

  • Genomics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Genetic Diversity
  • Genetic Resources
  • Molecular Systematics


Post-doctoral training obtained at the:

  • University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (1988-1990)
  • University of California at Santa Barbara (1990-1993)
  • Cornell University (1994-1996).

In 1996, he joined IRRI as a Project Scientist and moved up the career path to his current position of Senior Scientist II. Dr. McNally has over 30 years of experience in applied bioinformatics and computational biology on various crop plants (cotton, tomato and rice), fungal, bacterial and protistid systems. He began using Genbank in 1989 to analyze the mitochondrial genome of the filamentous ascomycete, Podospora anserina.


  • 1982 - B.S. in Mathematics and Biology (and minor in Chemistry) with honors from Northwestern Oklahoma State University 
  • 1990 - Ph.D. Biochemistry from Oklahoma State University.