OCT 16, 2017 12:41 PM PDT

Jeremy the 'Lefty' Snail Dies

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

In a bittersweet turn of events for scientific research, a famous ‘lefty’ garden snail named Jeremy passed away last Wednesday at the University of Nottingham’s School of Life Sciences.

R.I.P. Jeremy.

Image Credit: Dr. Angus Davison

Jeremy became famous after researchers noticed that his shell twisted to the left rather than to the right. Most garden snails exhibit the latter, but the mirroring didn’t stop at the shell; Jeremy’s internal and genital organs also differed from what’s considered the norm.

Just as it’s difficult to shake someone’s left hand with your right hand, Jeremy’s asymmetrical mirroring made it next to impossible for him to mate with ordinary garden snails. Researchers consequently billed him as ‘the world’s loneliest snail,’ a fitting name for the circumstances.

Related: Learn how a simple garden snail helped researchers better understand bodily asymmetrical mirroring

Because lefty snails aren’t easy to come by, Jeremy’s captors launched a mating program to help him find a suitable mate. Jeremy encountered a handful of other lefty garden snails through this program, and the researchers put them together and left them to their business.

“Although it is unfortunate that Jeremy has gone, the help that we have received from the public has been amazing,” said Dr. Angus Davidson from the University of Nottingham’s School of Life Sciences.

“Because of the rarity of lefty garden snails, we have never before been able to get two lefty snails together to study the inheritance of the condition. Through the appeal on BBC Radio 4, which then went out worldwide, we ended up finding six other lefty snails; hits would not have been possible without the public’s help.”

While not all the mating attempts succeeded, the program helped Jeremy produce offspring with another sinistral garden snail named Tomeu. Unfortunately, all of Jeremy’s offspring carry right-coiling shells, but his genetics will live on in each of them to help support future studies.

“This may be the end for Jeremy, but now that the snail has finally produced offspring, this is a waypoint in our long-term research goal to understand the genetics of body asymmetry,” Davidson continued.

“Ultimately, we would like to know why these snails are so rare, but also how the left and right sides of the body are signaled at the molecular level, and whether a similar process is taking place during human development.”

Garden snails like Jeremy aren’t the only creatures in the world capable of exhibiting asymmetrical mirroring; even people can. While genetic mechanisms are thought to drive the condition, there’s still a lot to learn about how and why it occurs and its impact on the body.

The genetics passed on to Jeremy's offspring should play an instrumental part in locating the answers to these questions, but so could studying additional lefty snails.

While the team will unquestionably miss Jeremy, the university will preserve his shell as a token of his existence and to help educate students about his condition.

Source: University of Nottingham

About the Author
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 12, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Humans, not climate, contributed to mammal community similarities 10,000+ years ago
AUG 12, 2022
Humans, not climate, contributed to mammal community similarities 10,000+ years ago
In a recent study published in Nature Communications, an international team of researchers discuss how the increasing ho ...
AUG 15, 2022
Plants & Animals
Big Brown Bats Live Longer Due to Hibernation
AUG 15, 2022
Big Brown Bats Live Longer Due to Hibernation
A recent study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences discusses hibernation as the sec ...
SEP 21, 2022
Neuroscience
What We Can Learn From Brain Asymmetry
SEP 21, 2022
What We Can Learn From Brain Asymmetry
A study published in eLife examined the subtle differences in functional organization between the left and right side of ...
SEP 21, 2022
Plants & Animals
Mutation Correction Machinery from Moss Transplanted to Human Cells
SEP 21, 2022
Mutation Correction Machinery from Moss Transplanted to Human Cells
Protein creation is essential to the normal function of healthy cells. Proteins help communicate key information to vari ...
OCT 05, 2022
Technology
Swimming Microrobots Treat Fatal Pneumonia in Mice
OCT 05, 2022
Swimming Microrobots Treat Fatal Pneumonia in Mice
In a recent study published in Nature Materials, a team of researchers from the University of California San Diego (UCSD ...
OCT 03, 2022
Plants & Animals
Yeast Proteins Could Provide Clues for New Antifungal Development
OCT 03, 2022
Yeast Proteins Could Provide Clues for New Antifungal Development
Yeast, like bacteria, causes infections. In fact, yeasts are responsible for over 100 million infections every year. The ...
Loading Comments...