Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sex and the pond snail

12.11.2008
A third-year undergraduate student at The University of Nottingham has had her research into the sex life of the pond snail published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The study by Hayley Frend, who is a student in the School of Biology, was published today in the Royal Society Journal Biology Letters.

With a grant of £1,500 from the Nuffield Foundation Hayley Frend has shown that just like humans the pond snail is genetically programmed to use the left or right handed side of its brain to perform different tasks.

In the past it was naively presumed that only humans use different sides of their brains to carry out different tasks. Research has since shown that some vertebrates, such as fish, can use their brains in this way. And recently it has been shown that behavioural handedness is not just confined to vertebrates.

Hayley spent the summer in the laboratories at the Institute of Genetics studying the sex life and genetics of the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis. She has established that just like humans, snails also tend to have brains that produce ‘handed’ behaviour.

Her work, under the supervision of lecturer, Dr Angus Davison has shown that a handedness of the pond snail in their mating behaviour is matched by an asymmetry in the brain which is pre-programmed by its mother’s genes.

The pond snail nearly always has a right handed (dextral) to its shell but sometimes it is left handed (sinistral). As dextral snails circle anticlockwise and sinistral snails circle clockwise, an unusual consequence is that two ‘mirror image’ snails will circle in different directions and are frequently unable to mate.

Hayley’s Supervisor, Dr Angus Davison said: “It never fails to surprise me how research on a mere pond snail can contribute to an understanding of the way our own brain works. Lots of new research, not just my lab, is showing that the effective functioning of the brain, whether they are human, fish or invertebrates, requires that the separate halves of the brain dedicate themselves to separate functions. If this specialisation has evolved multiple times, then it is clearly a very important one for animals.”

Hayley said: “It was an invaluable experience for me to work in the lab over the summer, but I never expected that my work would be published so rapidly. I am so excited!”

The Nuffield Foundation is an independent charity committed to the careers of young scientists. Nottingham’s two science bursary schemes offer the opportunity for school and college pupils and undergraduates to gain an insight into the world of research through summer research placements.

The work was funded by the Nuffield Foundation, but the views expressed are those of the grant holder and not those of the Foundation.

Lindsay Brooke | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk

Further reports about: Biology Brain Genetics Lymnaea stagnalis Sex genetically programmed pond snail sex life

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Greenland ice flow likely to speed up: New data assert glaciers move over sediment, which gets more slippery as it gets wetter

17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences

Mars 2020 mission to use smart methods to seek signs of past life

17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>