Lookin' for Love
Jeremy is a garden snail with left-spiraled shell, a trait that makes him one in a million. Lefty, or sinistral snails, can mate only with other lefties. However, in spite of a social media campaign that found two more "lefty" snails, Jeremy is still lonely. That's because the other two lefty snails hooked up, leaving Jeremy behind.
Luckily, researchers can still study the offspring of the lefty snails (hopefully, with Jeremy's blessing), so the scientists can determine whether this trait is inherited or a developmental glitch. [Read the full story on Jeremy's love saga and what it means for geneticists]
The campaign produced results. Two other lefty snails oozed forward: Lefty and Tomeu. Here, Davison holds Lefty and Jeremy.
Jeremy the snail
Lefty, their mother, influenced their shell spiral through a phenomenon known as maternal to zygotic transition (MZT). The mother's egg doesn't contain just DNA, but also cytoplasm, proteins and other components carrying her genetic signature. Early in development, the mother's genetics can influence the baby's growth.
MZT can influence egg color in birds. It can also influence the direction of shell coil in snails, Davison said.