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Dr Karine Myriam David

PhD, Plant Biology

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Senior Lecturer

Research | Current

The hormone signalling group

My group is investigating the factors controlling early fruit development in kiwifruit and apple. We are particularly interested in the factors controlling fruit size, focusing on the role of plant hormones and key fruit-size related genes.

The approaches we use are multidisciplinary and combine physiology, genetics, molecular biology and biochemistry.

Current projects

1. Kiwifruit size regulation
Kiwifruit are the second largest horticultural export for New Zealand, with exports in 2015 at 1.4 billion NZ dollars. Advancement of new cultivars includes developing fruit with a minimum weight of 100g. While mechanisms controlling fruit size start to be understood in tomato, very little is known about fruit size regulation in kiwifruit at the molecular level. The aim of this project is to identify and characterise kiwifruit genes regulating fruit size, using data from other species. We focus on hormone-related genes (homeostasis, signalling), cell division and cell expansion related genes.


​2. Apple fruit texture

Two main factors affect this character - cell size and cell-wall rigidity. Both are partly controlled by the plant hormone auxin. We are deciphering the role of auxin during apple fruit development. We aim to understand the mechanisms controlling cell expansion during apple fruit development to eventually improve the quality of fruit texture. These projects are developed in collaboration with Dr R. Schaffer (Plant and Food Research) and AP John Ross (University of Tasmania, Australia).

Lab members

  • Nicky Read (PhD student): Identification and characteristion of genes controlling fruit size in kiwifruit
  • Hilary Ireland (PhD student): Fruit flesh development: a comparative study in fleshy apple and dry-fruiting Gillenia trifoliata
  • Sravya Garimella (MSc): Regulation of the production of terpenoids by apple cell cultures
  • Wendy Payne (Teaching technician)

Postgraduate supervision

Research projects in the hormone signaling lab can be based in the School of Biological Sciences or carried out with collaborators at Plant and Food Research (Mt Albert).

Areas of expertise

Plant Molecular Science

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Borker, A. R., David, K., & Singhal, N. (2020). Analysis of time varying response on uptake patterns of Cu and Zn ions under application of ethylene diamine disuccinic acid and gibberellic acid in Lolium perenne. Chemosphere, 26010.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.127541
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Naresh Singhal
  • Karim, S. K. A., Allan, A., Schaffer, R., & David, K. (2019). Differential expression of specific genes regulating ‘royal gala’ (Malus x domestica) fruit development. Malaysian Applied Biology, 48 (5), 19-27.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Andrew Allan, Robert Schaffer
  • Wei, Q., Du, L., Wang, W., Hu, T., Hu, H., Wang, J., ... Bao, C. (2019). Comparative Transcriptome Analysis in Eggplant Reveals Selection Trends during Eggplant Domestication. International journal of genomics, 201910.1155/2019/7924383
  • Gunaseelan, K., McAtee, P. A., Nardozza, S., Pidakala, P., Wang, R., David, K., ... Schaffer, R. J. (2019). Copy number variants in kiwifruit ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTOR/APETALA2 (ERF/AP2)-like genes show divergence in fruit ripening associated cold and ethylene responses in C-REPEAT/DRE BINDING FACTOR-like genes. PloS one, 14 (5)10.1371/journal.pone.0216120
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Robert Schaffer
  • Chen, Y., Grimplet, J., David, K., Castellarin, S. D., Terol, J., Wong, D. C. J., ... Talon, M. (2018). Ethylene receptors and related proteins in climacteric and non-climacteric fruits. Plant science : an international journal of experimental plant biology, 276, 63-72. 10.1016/j.plantsci.2018.07.012
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Robert Schaffer
  • Pilkington, S. M., Crowhurst, R., Hilario, E., Nardozza, S., Fraser, L., Peng, Y., ... Deroles, S. C. (2018). A manually annotated Actinidia chinensis var. chinensis (kiwifruit) genome highlights the challenges associated with draft genomes and gene prediction in plants. BMC genomics, 19 (1)10.1186/s12864-018-4656-3
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Robert Schaffer, Andrew Allan
  • David, K. M. (2017). Cell division and cell differentiation. In B. Thomas, B. G. Murray, D. J. Murphy (Eds.) Encyclopedia of applied plant sciences (pp. 149-154). Waltham, MA, USA: Academic Press. 10.1016/B978-0-12-394807-6.00117-9
  • Kinzurik, M. I., Ly, K., David, K. M., Gardner, R. C., & Fedrizzi, B. (2017). The GLO1 Gene Is Required for Full Activity of O -Acetyl Homoserine Sulfhydrylase Encoded by MET17. ACS Chemical Biology, 12 (2), 414-421. 10.1021/acschembio.6b00815
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Bruno Fedrizzi


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 1, Room 127
New Zealand

Web links