JUL 22, 2017 08:14 AM PDT

How a Snail is Helping Scientists Understand Bodily Asymmetrical Mirroring


Most animals are nearly symmetrical, which means the left side of your body looks an awful lot like your right side. Although the symmetry isn't perfect (one side of your body can be larger than the other), it's a safe bet that nature has served you rather reasonably and that proportionate imperfections are difficult to notice.

On the other hand, things can be much different inside the body, where organs can point in one direction or another. For most people, hearts grow to the left and stomachs grow to the right, but in the minority of individuals, these organs go the opposite way.

While we aren't entirely sure what causes this phenomenon, scientists do have a name for it: asymmetrical mirroring. In an attempt to learn more about asymmetrical mirroring, researchers are studying Jeremy the snail, a creature with an inverted shell and inverted sex organs, which makes it more difficult for him to mate.

Scientists have learned that finding snails with inverted shells can be just as difficult as finding humans with inverted organs, as well as just how hard it can make the life of a snail. Jeremy has been billed 'the world's loneliest snail' as a result.

Having asymmetrically mirrored organs typically isn't too much a problem, but it can come with an increased risk of other health-driven hardships that aren't so pleasant, such as congenital heart defects.

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
NOV 05, 2018
Videos
NOV 05, 2018
How UV Rays Cause Aging and Skin Cancer
We know that UV rays can do damage to our DNA - but how?...
NOV 10, 2018
Videos
NOV 10, 2018
Engineering Viable Offspring From Same-sex Mouse Parents
Using a special kind of stem cell and genetic engineering, researchers have learned more about what's possible in reproduction....
NOV 19, 2018
Videos
NOV 19, 2018
The Amazon's worst enemy
Brazil has a new leader, and he could be the Amazon’s biggest enemy yet. President Jair Bolsonaro has pledged to sell off large portions of the rainf...
DEC 08, 2018
Health & Medicine
DEC 08, 2018
Chronic Fatigue: Where Are We in Our Understanding?
  Ask anyone who suffers from an autoimmune disease or fibromyalgia about the most challenging aspect of their condition, and the answer will be unani...
DEC 09, 2018
Videos
DEC 09, 2018
Retina Organoids Help Researchers Learn More About Color Vision
Researchers are growing mini-retinas to learn more about color vision, and why it's dysfunctional in some people....
DEC 09, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 2018
After a Slight Delay, SpaceX's Christmas Delivery Arrives at the ISS
Three days after the official launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, a SpaceX Dragon capsule arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday with a sp...
Loading Comments...