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article imageThis snail is unlucky in love — Tweet #snailLove to help him out

By Karen Graham     Oct 25, 2016 in Science
University of Nottingham scientists in the U.K. have taken on the role of matchmakers for a lonely little garden snail who was born with what appears to be a genetic anomaly. In a one-in-a-million occurrence, his shell spirals to the left.
Now most of us wouldn't notice this when glancing at a snail in the garden, but from the perspective of the mollusk, a left-spirally shell, known as a sinistral spiral, can really create problems when it comes to romance, reports Live Science.
Jeremy's chances of finding a mate are pretty slim, said Angus Davison, an associate professor and reader in evolutionary genetics at the University of Nottingham's School of Life Sciences in the United Kingdom. A genetic anomaly has led Jeremy, a garden snail (Cornu aspersum) to develop a shell with a sinistral spiral instead of a right spiraling or dextral spiral.
Dr. Angus Davison describing Jeremy s sinistral-spiraling shell.
Dr. Angus Davison describing Jeremy's sinistral-spiraling shell.
University of Nottingham, UK
This sinistral spiral can be devastating for snails wanting to mate because this means his genitals are on the opposite side of his body compared with all the other garden snails he knows. And with all his snail friends having dextral spirals, he is just out of luck.
Davison explains: "[Snails] mate in a face-to-face position. Imagine two cars passing each other, driving in opposite directions. As long as they have their steering wheels on the same side, then they can pass a package between them, across the middle of the road. But if one has the [driving wheel] on the other side, it won't work."
Davison met Jeremy when a colleague, a retired scientist of the Natural History Museum in London, spotted the lonely mollusk on a compost heap in Raynes Park in southwest London. Davison was ecstatic when his friend presented the snail, and he immediately began to investigate the genetics behind the unique spiral.
By the way, Jeremy was named after British politician Jeremy Corbyn, who likes to garden, Davison told As It Happens host Carol Off on CBC's As It Happens.
Jeremy the snail (top) has a rare shell that spirals counter-clockwise.
Jeremy the snail (top) has a rare shell that spirals counter-clockwise.
University of Nottingham, UK
Davison says that, yes, some snails can self-fertilize, being hermaphrodites, so in a way, Jeremy could create other snails just like him. But Davison says snails "don't like in-breeding. They prefer to out-breed." So to help the little fellow out, Davidson is hoping the public will help in finding Jeremy a partner.
Think you have a mate for lonely Jeremy somewhere in your backyard? Tweet Professor Davison here, using the hashtag #leftysnail. Or, you can also send him an email at: angus.davison@nottingham.ac.uk. You can also go to Twitter #snailLove.
More about Jeremy, snailLove, sinistral spiral, spirals to the left, genetic studies
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