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Flipping Shells! Unwinding LR Asymmetry in Mirror-Image Molluscs

Davison, Angus

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Professor of Evolutionary Genetics


© 2019 In seeking to understand the establishment of left–right (LR) asymmetry, a limiting factor is that most animals are ordinarily invariant in their asymmetry, except when manipulated or mutated. It is therefore surprising that the wider scientific field does not appear to fully appreciate the remarkable fact that normal development in molluscs, especially snails, can flip between two chiral types without pathology. Here, I describe recent progress in understanding the evolution, development, and genetics of chiral variation in snails, and place it in context with other animals. I argue that the natural variation of snails is a crucial resource towards understanding the invariance in other animal groups and, ultimately, will be key in revealing the common factors that define cellular and organismal LR asymmetry.


Davison, A. (2020). Flipping Shells! Unwinding LR Asymmetry in Mirror-Image Molluscs. Trends in Genetics, 36(3), 189-202.

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Jan 14, 2020
Online Publication Date Jan 14, 2020
Publication Date 2020-03
Deposit Date Jan 20, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jan 15, 2021
Journal Trends in Genetics
Print ISSN 0168-9525
Electronic ISSN 1362-4555
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 3
Pages 189-202
Keywords Genetics
Public URL
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