Molluscan ResearchISSN 1323-5818
 An international journal of the Malacological Society of Australasia and 
the Society for the Study of Molluscan Diversity published by Magnolia Press

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Molluscan Research 30(1): 37-47; published 31 Mar. 2010
Copyright © The Malacological Society of Australasia & the Society for the Study of Molluscan Diversity

Genetic basis of racemism and ease of interchiral mating in a clausiliid species of snails

1Department of Biology, Shinshu University, Matsumoto 390-8621, Japan.
2Conservation of Aquatic Biodiversity, Faculty of Agriculture, Okayama University, Tsushima-naka, Okayama 700-8530, Japan.
*Corresponding author - Email:


Species that develop in left-right polarity reversal have repeatedly evolved in gastropods, uniquely among metazoans. To clarify mechanisms underlying the evolution of whole-body reversal, it is essential to understand the genetic variability of developmental polarity. Here we show experimental evidence for the maternal inheritance of racemism, in which both dextral and sinistral siblings are produced in the same broods, in the ovoviviparous land snail Hemizaptyx stimpsoni. In contrast to the traditionally known variation in left-right polarity that is determined by the dichotomous dextral and sinistral alleles, we found that a recessive allele at a nuclear locus is responsible for the present racemism. This genetic basis allowed us to estimate the frequency of the enantiomorphy allele to be 0.2 to 0.3 in the population where we found dextral variants. The ratio between dextral and sinistral siblings was close to 0.5 in total mean but bimodally distributed among maternal parents. The overall proportions of morphs changed across generations suggesting the operation of additional genetic factors. There was no detectable difference in the reproductive success of interchiral and intrachiral mating pairs. This suggests that positive frequency-dependent selection in high-spired snails may not necessarily be as strong as that known in the chirally-dimorphic Partula suturalis.

Key words: asymmetry, enantiomorph, frequency-dependent selection, maternal inheritance, Hemizaptyx stimpsoni, situs inversus

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