Rodney L. Honeycutt, PhD

Office: (979) 847-9462
Lab: (979) 847-9463

Professor: Departments of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, and Biology, Faculty of Genetics

Joined Texas A&M faculty in 1988

NSF Program Director, 1992-1993, Systematic and Population Biology Program

Associate Professor and Curator of Mammals, Harvard University (1984-1989)

Postdoc., The University of Michigan (1983-84)

Postdoc., Australian National University (1981-83)

Ph.D., Biology, Texas Tech University (1981)

M.S., Wildlife & Fisheries, Texas A&M University (1978)

B.S., Zoology, The University of Texas, Austin (1970)

Research Interests

My primary interests are in the patterns and processes of molecular evolution, especially in mammals and birds. Projects in my laboratory range from molecular systematic studies on vertebrates to conservation genetic studies on endangered species of wildlife. Over the past several years my laboratory has focused on studies of African and South American small mammals as well as game species and endangered species in Texas and the southeastern United States.

We are interested in the overall patterns and processes of mitochondrial and nuclear gene evolution within and between species of mammals and birds.

Our research program has three major foci:
1) studies of molecular rate heterogeneity;

2) the derivation of complex gene phylogenies for families and orders of birds and mammals; and

3) the application of molecular techniques and population genetics theory, particularly to the conservation of threatened and endangered species.

Selected Publications

Harlin, A.H., T. Markowitz, C.S. Baker, B. Würsig, and R.L. Honeycutt. 2003. Genetic structure, diversity, and historical demography of New Zealand's dusky dolphin (Lagenorhynchus obscurus). Journal of Mammalogy 84: 702-717.

Honeycutt, R.L., D.L. Rowe, and M.H. Gallardo. 2003. Molecular systematics of the South American caviomorph rodents: relatonships among species and genera in the family Octodontidae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 26: 476-489.

Dragoo, J.W., R.L. Honeycutt, and D.J. Schmidly. 2003. Taxonomic status of white-backed hog-nosed skunks, genus Conepatus (Carnivora: Mephitidae). Journal of Mammalogy 84: 159-176.

Dunn, K.A., J.D. McEachran, and R.L. Honeycutt. 2003. Molecular phylogenetics of myliobatiform fishes (Chondrichthyes: Myliobatiformes), with comments on the effect of missing data on parsimony and likelihood. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 27: 259-270.

DeYoung, R.W., S. Demarais, R.L. Honeycutt, R.A. Gonzales, K.L. Gee, and J.D. Anderson. 2003. Evaluation of a DNA microsatellite panel useful for genetic exclusion studies in white-tailed deer. Wildlife Society Bulletin 31: 220-232.

Adkins, R.M., A.H. Walton, and R.L. Honeycutt. 2003. Higher-level systematics of rodents and divergence time estimates based on two congruent nuclear genes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 26: 409-420.

Ryberg, W.A., L.A. Fitzgerald, R.L. Honeycutt, and J.C. Cathey. 2002. Genetic relationships of American alligator populations distributed across different ecological and geographic scales. Journal of Experimental Zoology (Mol Dev Evol) 294: 325-333.

Scharninghausen, J. J., M. Pfeffer, H. Meyer, D. S. Davis, R. L. Honeycutt, and M. Faulde. 2002. Genetic evidence for Tula virus in Microtus arvalis and M. agrestis populations in Croatia. Vector-borne and Zoonotic Diseases 2(1):19-28.

Sena, L., M.P.C. Schneider, B. Brenig, R.L. Honeycutt, J.E. Womack, and L.C. Skow. 2002. Polymorphism in Mhc-DRA and -DRB alleles of water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) reveals different features from DR alleles in cattle. Animal Genetics 33:1-10.

Rowe, D.L., and R.L. Honeycutt. 2002. Phylogenetic relationships, ecological correlates, and molecular evolution within the Cavioidea (Mammalia:Rodentia). Molecular Biology and Evolution 19: 263-277.

Anderson, J.D., R.L. Honeycutt, R.A. Gonzales, K.L. Gee, L.C. Skow, R.L. Gallagher, D.A. Honeycutt, and R.W. DeYoung. 2002. Development of microsatellite DNA markers for the automated genetic characterization of white-tailed deer populations. Journal of Wildlife Management 66: 67-74.

Ransom, D., Jr., R.L. Honeycutt, and R.D. Slack. 2001. Population genetics of southeastern wood ducks. Journal of Wildlife Management 65: 745-754.

Rooney, A.P., R.L. Honeycutt, and J.N. Derr. 2001. Historical population size change of bowhead whales inferred from DNA sequence polymorphism data. Evolution 55: 1678-1685.

Chirhart S.E., R. Arianpour, R.L. Honeycutt, and I.F. Greenbaum. 2001. Mitochondrial DNA sequence variation and the specific identification of deer mice (Peromyscus) from Triangle Island, British Columbia, Canada. Canadian Journal of Zoology 79: 2257-2260.

Adkins, R.M., E.L. Gelke, D.L. Rowe, and R.L. Honeycutt. 2001. Molecular phylogeny and divergence time estimates for major rodent groups: evidence from multiple genes. Molecular Biology and Evolution 18: 777-791.

Jolley, T.W., R.L. Honeycutt, and R.D. Bradley. 2000. Phylogenetic relationships of pocket gophers (genus Geomys) based on the mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene. Journal of Mammalogy 81: 1025-1034.

Flynn, J.J., M.A. Nedbal, J.W. Dragoo, and R.L. Honeycutt. 2000. Whence the red panda? Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 17: 190-199.

Walton, A.H., M.A. Nedbal, and R.L. Honeycutt. 2000. Evidence from intron 1 of the nuclear transthyretin (prealbumin) gene for the phylogeny of African mole-rats (Bathyergidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 16: 467-474.

Honeycutt, R.L. 2000. Genetic applications for large mammals: Chapter 12. In Ecology and Management of Large Mammals in North America. S. Demarais and P.R. Krausman, eds. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, pp 233-259.

Burda, H., R.L. Honeycutt, S. Begall, O. Locker-Grütjen, and A. Scharff. 2000. Are naked and common mole-rats eusocial and if so, why? Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 47: 293-303.

Skow, L.C., D.A. Honeycutt, R.L. Gallagher, and R.L. Honeycutt. 1999. Evaluation and use of bovid/ovid microsatellite markers for studies of white-tailed deer. Transactions of the 64th North American Wildlife and Naturl Resource Conference. R.E. McCabe and S.E. Loos, eds. Wildlife Management Institute, Washington DC, pp 156-164.

Rooney, A.P., R.L. Honeycutt, S.K. Davis, and J.N. Derr. 1999. Evaluating a putative bottleneck in a population of bowhead whales from patterns of microsatellite diversity and genetic disequilibria. Journal of Molecular Evolution 49: 682-690.

Gallardo, M.H., J.W. Bickham, R.L. Honeycutt, R.A. Ojeda, and N. Köhler. 1999. Discovery of tetraploidy in a mammal. Science 401 (23 September): 341.

Allard, M.W., R.L. Honeycutt, and M.J. Novacek. 1999. Advances in higher level mammalian relationships. Cladistics 15: 213-219.

Bradley, R.D., R.M. Adkins, R.L. Honeycutt, and J.H. McDonald. 1998. Nucleotide polymorphism at the alcohol dehydrogenase locus of pocket gophers, genus Geomys. Molecular Biology and Evolution 15: 709-717.

Ward, T.J., R.L. Honeycutt, and J.N. Derr. 1997. Nucleotide sequence evolution at the k-Casein locus: Evidence for positive selection within the family Bovidae. Genetics 147:1863-1872.

Vilas, C., P. Savolainen, J.E. Maldonado, I. R. Amorin, J. E. Rice, R.L. Honeycutt, K.A. Crandall, J. Lundeberg, and R.K. Wayne. 1997. Multiple and ancient origins of the domestic dog. Science 276:1687-1689.

Janecek, L.L., R.L. Honeycutt, R.M. Adkins, and S.K. Davis. 1996. Mitochondrial gene sequences and the molecular systematics of the artiodactyl subfamily Bovidae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 6:107-119.

Adkins, R.M., R.L. Honeycutt, and T.R. Disotell. 1996. Evolution of eutherian cytochrome c oxidase subunit II: Heterogeneous rates of protein evolution and altered interaction with cytochrome c. Molecular Biology and Evolution 13:1393-1404.

Beltran, J.F., J.E. Rice, and R.L. Honeycutt. 1996. Taxonomy of the Iberian lynx. Nature 379:407-408.

Honeycutt, R.L., M.A. Nedbal, R.M. Adkins, and L.L. Janacek. 1995. Mammalian mitochondrial DNA evolution: a comparison of the cytochrome b and cytochrome c oxidase II genes. Journal of Molecular Evolution 40:260-272.

Nedbal, M.A., M.W. Allard, and R.L. Honeycutt. 1994. Molecular systematics of hystricognath rodents: evidence from the mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 3:206-220.

Miyamoto, M.M., M.W. Allard, R.M. Adkins, L.L. Janacek, and R.L. Honeycutt. 1994. A congruence test of reliability using linked mitochondrial DNA sequences. Systematic Biology 43:236-249.

Ellsworth, D.L., R. L. Honeycutt, N.J. Silvy, K.D. Rittenhouse, and M.H. Smith. 1994. Mitochondrial-DNA and nuclear-gene differentiation in North American prairie grouse (genus Tympanuchus). The Auk 11:661-671.

Adkins, R.M., and R. L. Honeycutt. 1994. Evolution of the primate cytochrome c oxidase subunit II gene. Journal of Molecular Evolution 38:215-231.

Riddle, B.R., R.L. Honeycutt, and P.L. Lee. 1993. Mitochondrial DNA phylogeography in northern grasshopper mice (Onychomys leucogaster) - the influence of Quaternary climatic oscillations on population dispersion and divergence. Molecular Ecology 2:183-193.

Honeycutt, R.L., and R.M. Adkins. 1993. Higher level systematics of eutherian mammals: an assessment of molecular characters and phylogenetic hypotheses. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 24:279-305.

Wayne, R.K., N. Lehman, M.W. Allard, and R.L. Honeycutt. 1992. Mitochondrial DNA variability of the gray wolf: genetic consequences of population decline and habitat fragmentation. Conservation Biology 6:559-569.

Honeycutt, R.L. 1992. Naked mole-rats. American Scientist. January-February 43-53.

Mindell, D.P., and R.L. Honeycutt. 1990. Ribosomal RNA in vertebrates: evolution and phylogenetic applications. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 21:541-566.


WFSC 401 - General Mammalogy

WFSC 689 - Conservation Biology

  -w/ Profs. Fitzgerald, Gelwick, Lacher, Packard, Slack, Winemiller

WFSC 689 - Molecular Evolution

ENTO/GENE 689 - Quantitative Phylogenetics

  -w/ Dr. Jim Woolley, Department of Entomology

REU/UMEB Programs

I am currently the Director for two programs to provide research opportunities for undergraduate students, both at Texas A&M and elsewhere.

NSF REU program in studies in biodiversity and ecological processes in fluctuation environments.

-with Profs. Jim Bonner, Robin Autenreithe, and Dan Roelke

NSF UMEB program in training in ecological and evolutionary approaches to complex environmental problems.

-with Profs. Robin Autenrieth, Lee Fitzgerald, Fran Gelwick, and Kirk Winemiller


Ronald Adkins

John Bickham

Stanton Braude

Hynek Burda

Ron DeBry

Stephen Demarais

Randy DeYoung

Christine Elsik

Milton Gallardo

Ken Gee

Joe Gillespie

Robert Gonzales

Ira Greenbaum

Robin Gutell

Duane Schlitter

Chris Seabury

Loren Skow

Bernd Würsig


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Texas A&M University


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Genetics Graduate Program

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Last modified: 22 August, 2003