20th July, and it was time for another DIYBio meeting. I was looking forward to the meeting immensely because I had heard that quite a lot of progress had been made by some of the teams, and I was really interested in finding out what they had been up to.
Unfortunately not all the news was good. Although a sterling effort was made by Team Snail, the first batch of snails that we brought into Madlab did not fare very well and had sadly expired during the month. A second set had already been introduced to the tank, and we discussed how we might help them survive a bit better this time around. David had done a lot of excellent research, and discovered that our snails are Malaysian Trumpet Snails. They like to burrow, so we gave them some sand for the bottom of the tank. They also thrive best at relatively high temperatures (compared to Madlab) so we discussed obtaining a water heater to maintain the tank at around 25 degrees. We had a very interesting presentation on the snails, including the fascinating fact that while the females can reproduce without mating, the offspring are not identical clones but have variation because the mother snails combine two of their gametes (eggs), each of which contain a random selection of their gene ‘alleles’ – in effect having sex with themselves!