Methods, Phase (1)
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Methods, Phase (1)


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Assuming the hypothesis advanced in the previous section, all the mother snails demonstrating the ivory phenotype in the pet shops and in our home aquaria are homozygous recessive at all three loci.  They are also (almost certainly) already inseminated.  But we probably do not know the father.  So Phase (1) of the MSCG Project is simple:

(1) Isolate ivory snails, in dedicated tanks.

(2) Separate any clutches of eggs that may be laid from their mothers and hatch them.  If you’re using a big aquarium, it is best to remove any egg masses from the walls, or wherever they’ve been laid, and hatch them in a separate container.  You can find plans for several styles of hatcheries on the web, for example the ones depicted by Ms. Beverly Laborgini below.  Or if you are using a smaller, simpler From Beverly Laborginicontainer for your mother snail, like a kritter-keeper, you might just move the mom into a new container, leave the eggs attached to the wall where she laid them, and change the water.

(3) Count the viable F1 hatchlings immediately and separate them by any color phenotypes you are able to distinguish.

(4) Rear the F1 to at least pea size, count again and verify phenotype.  We are trying to allay two concerns here.  First, it is not clear at what size the color phenotype of a juvenile mystery snail can be reliably determined.  And second, the color forms may demonstrate differential survivorship.  We are trying to get a handle on both these unknowns with that (deceptively simple) term “pea size” above.  We’ll see.

(5) Report your results to me by email, with attached photograph or photographs for documentation.  If all your babies look the same, you could just send one photo and say, “My ivory mother had 27 F1 babies that all looked ivory, like this.”  Or if your mother snail had a mixture of babies showing two phenotypes, you would send a couple photos, saying, “My ivory mother had 13 blue F1 babies that looked like photo #1 and 18 ivory F1 babies that looked like photo #2.”  I’m counting on you to document your results clearly and completely and report them to me.

We'll be looking for that signature 1:1 ratio of phenotypes.  It is possible, depending on all the daddies of all the F1 clutches born by all the ivory mothers in the world, that we might confirm our entire model of the inheritance of color polymorphism in mystery snails at Phase (1) of the MSCG Project.

Or more likely, we’ll probably go onward to Phase (2).  In that case, stand by for further instructions.

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Last updated 7 Nov 2018