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.
Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
21.08.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
21.08.2018 | Life Sciences
21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering