End of the trail for Jeremy, but not with­out a smile on its face

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Sarah Knapton SCI­ENCE ED­I­TOR and He­lena Hor­ton

JEREMY, the lovelorn “lefty” snail that strug­gled to find a mate with a sim­i­lar anti-clock­wise shell, has died – though not be­fore be­com­ing a fa­ther, sci­en­tists have con­firmed.

The snail won the na­tion’s heart after re­searchers ap­pealed for help to track down a would-be part­ner with the same ge­netic mu­ta­tion.

Snails mate face-to-face, slid­ing past each other on the right hand side, but Jeremy’s “sinis­tral” mu­ta­tion meant its sex or­gan was on the left.

At­tempts to team it with two “lefty” snails, traced to Ma­jorca and Ip­swich, failed when the pair shunned Jeremy for each other.

How­ever, sci­en­tists at the Univer­sity of Not­ting­ham con­firmed that Jeremy fi­nally mated with the Span­ish snail, which pro­duced a batch of 56 eggs be­fore it passed away Wed­nes­day.

Re­searchers say at least a third of the newly hatched snails are likely to have been fa­thered by Jeremy, with the re­main­der the re­sult of an ear­lier li­ai­son with its Ip­swich love ri­val.

Ge­neti­cist Dr An­gus Dav­i­son said: “We’d al­most given up hope. Fi­nally, last week some ba­bies hatched, and un­for­tu­nately, more or less at the same time, Jeremy died. This may be the end for Jeremy, but now that the snail has pro­duced off­spring, this is a way point in our re­search goal to un­der­stand the ge­net­ics of body asym­me­try.”

Cu­ri­ously, all the off­spring have been born with right coil­ing shells.

Last year, Dr Dav­i­son and col­leagues at uni­ver­si­ties in Ed­in­burgh, Ger­many and the US re­vealed they had dis­cov­ered the gene that de­ter­mines the clock­wise or anti-clock­wise di­rec­tion.

Jeremy’s shell has been pre­served and will be used to teach stu­dents about this rare ge­netic vari­ant.

Jeremy the ‘lefty’ snail with one of his off­spring en­joy­ing a ride on its back

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