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LETTERS TO THE EDITORS

Snail Switch

To the Editors:

The interesting article by H. Frederik Nijhout—"The Importance of Context In Genetics" (September–October)—was beautifully adorned by a photograph of the Cuban tree snail Polymita picta.

Unfortunately, as often happens, the photo was reversed, and the snails appeared to coil the wrong way! Polymita picta, as most land snail species, has a shell that coils to the right. Along with my colleagues Takahiro Asami and Kako Ohbayashi, I discussed the reasons for this preponderance of right-handed shells in a 1998 paper entitled "Evolution of mirror images by sexually asymmetric mating behavior in hermaphroditic snails," which appeared in volume 152(2) of The American Naturalist.

Robert H. Cowie University of Hawaii

The Editors reply:

Dr. Cowie is correct about our mistake. We regret showing snails of a mirror universe.


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