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