Sci-tech

Scientist plays matchmaker to rare, left-coiling snails

Scientist plays matchmaker to rare, left-coiling snails

The rare snail - named Jeremy - has a shell whose spirals turn in an anti-clockwise direction, meaning that he can not mate with the majority of the world's snail population who spiral the opposite way.

"As there has so far been no sign of Jeremy mating with either Lefty or Tomeu, it underlines how incredibly lucky we were to find not just one, but two of these amazingly rare snails following our public appeal", said Davison.

His shell swirls counterclockwise and his sex organs are on the left side of his head. "In essence, the "lefty" snail is a mirror image of its other shell-dwelling friends", wrote the scientists at the time in a press release.

Scientists at the University of Nottingham launched the campaign previous year to find potential suitors and discover more about Jeremy's genetics.

But not all love stories have a happy ending, as Jeremy was about to find out.

A snail who's search for love went public, after an appeal by a scientist at The University of Nottingham, has ended up in a love triangle.

Lefty has since returned to his home in Ipswich and Davison is still hopeful that Jeremy might be back in business and mate with Tomeu.

Tomeu and Lefty made a decision to get together instead.

Angus Davison, associate professor and reader in evolutionary genetics at the university, said Jeremy was not as lively as the more youthful gastropods.

As if to rub it in poor Jeremy's face, Lefty and Tomeau have had 170 babies since they began producing eggs in April.

"It is far more likely that we will get to see left-coiling babies produced in the next generation or even the generation after that". They wanted to preserve his genetic legacy.

Dr Davison hopes that in the long term, these crosses may be used to map and find the genes that determine variation in left-right asymmetry.

The global search ended in Jeremy being introduced to Lefty, who was found in Ipswich, and Tomeau, who was flown in from Majorca.


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