'Lefty'-Shelled Snails Have 'Righty' Babies

Jeremy in his role as the loving uncle

Jeremy in his role as the loving uncle

His appeal turned up two possible companions - one located by snail enthusiast in the British city of Ipswich and the other from a snail farmer on the Spanish island of Majorca.

Jeremy's shell spirals in an anti-clockwise direction which means he is unable to mate with snails whose shells spiral the opposite way.

The world first became acquainted with Jeremy in October 2016, when researchers at the University of Nottingham appealed to the public to help them find a suitor for the lonely special mollusk.

Scientists aren't sure exactly how rare this condition is.

Dubbed a "one-in-a-million find", scientists at the University of Nottingham launched a Twitter campaign a year ago to find suitors to try to discover more about Jeremy's genetics. It was later named Tomeu. They were put into a fridge for a few months to simulate normal snail hibernation during the winter.

As Angus Davison, the evolutionary geneticist who studies Jeremy, explained, the two "have gone and reproduced with each other, rather, and ignored Jeremy".

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"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".

And, hopefully, there will be some cute left-coiling babies. Davison and his colleagues are trying to understand the genetics behind a left-coiling shell.

Since all three are counterclockwise snails, and these gastropods are hermaphrodites, Jeremy stood a good chance to mate with either of the two newcomers.

Based on the at least 170 baby snails that have hatched, the answer is no.

'But it has not stopped us getting to the bottom of the science, and we are still hopeful he will mate'.

As we reported, Davison's team recently "published research in Current Biology that suggested the gene that causes a snail's shell to twist counter-clockwise could also 'offer clues to how the same gene affects body asymmetry in other animals including humans'".

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