Texas Tech University

Lou Densmore

Director, Texas Tech University/Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Science Education Program at CISER

Email: lou.densmore@ttu.edu

Phone: 806-742-2715

Lou Densmore


  • Ph.D., Biochemistry, Louisiana State University Medical Center (1981)
  • M.S., Biology, University of Houston (1977)
  • B.S., Biology, University of Houston (1975)


Our lab research interests are in vertebrate molecular systematics, population genetics and molecular toxicology. Currently, we are studying the evolution and phylogeny of the Crocodylia in collaboration with Dr. Chris Brochu from the University of Iowa. This NSF-funded research is finding new molecular and morphological markers to generate the most comprehensive phylogenetic assessment of any vertebrate order yet attempted. Our recent 5-year research project dealing with the genetics of Morelets crocodile populations in Belize was highlighted inNational Geographic Magazine (March 2007). A comparable large-scale study is being conducted to study the phylogeography and population genetics of the wide-ranging American crocodile.  Our contribution to this work is being led by Dr. David Rodriguez, who recently earned the Ph.D. in our lab, Ms. Miryam Venegas de Anaya (a new Ph.D. student from Panama) and Mr.  Jeremy Weaver, an HHMI undergraduate research scholar.  All members of our lab presented papers or posters at the "3rd International Crocodylian Genetics and Genomics Workshop" held in Panama during April, 2007 and there will be at least 5 publications authored by members of our lab that will be published in a special volume of the Journal of Experimental Zoology .  Finally, using both mitochondrial and nuclear markers, we are studying the relationships and population genetics of African Dwarf crocodiles and an endangered lizard, the San Esteban chuckwalla.


  • Brochu, C. and L. D. Densmore . 2001. Crocodile phylogenetics: A summary of current progress. In : Crocodilian Biology and Evolution (G. Grigg, F. Seebacher and C. Franklin, eds), Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton. Pp 3-8.
  • Densmore , L.D. 2001. Phylogenetic inference and parsimony analysis. In : Steroid Receptor Methods and Protocols., (B. Lieberman, ed) Methods in Molecular BiologyHumana Press. Totowa, NJ. Pp. 23-36.
  • Dever, J. A., R. E. Strauss, T. R. Rainwater, S. T. McMurry and L. D. Densmore . 2002. Genetic diversity, population subdivision and gene flow in wild populations of Morelets crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) in Belize, Central America. Copeia. Copeia. 2002(4):1079-1091.
  • Ray, D.A. and L. D. Densmore . 2002. The crocodilian mitochondrial control region: General structure, conserved sequences and evolutionary implications. Journal of Experimental Zoology (Molecular Development and Evolution).294(4):334-345.
  • Ray, D. A. and L. D. Densmore . 2003. Repetitive Sequences in the crocodilian mitochondrial control region: Poly-A sequences and heteroplasmic tandem repeats . Molecular Biology and Evolution . 20(6): 1006-1013.
  • Ray, D.A., D.J. Hedges, S.W. Herke, J.D. Fowlkes, E.W. Barnes, D.K. LaVie, L.M. Goodwin, L.D. Densmore , and M. Batzer. 2005. Chompy: An infestation of MITE-like repetitive elements in the crocodilian genome. Gene 362:1-10.
  • McAliley, L. R., R. E. Willis, D. A. Ray, P. S. White, C. A. Brochu and L. D. Densmore . 2006. Are crocodiles really monphyletic? DNA sequence evidence from nuclear and mitochondrial coding genes and the mitochondrial control region. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 39:16-32.
  • Willis, R., L. R. McAliley, E. D. Neeley, L. D. Densmore . 2007. Nuclear evidence for placing Tomistoma schlegelli in the family Gavialidae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 43(2007):787-794.

Department of Biological Sciences

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    Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Box 43131 Lubbock, TX 79409
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