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Researchers are DNA testing Loch Ness to identify the monster

23 May 2018

University of Otago professor Neil Gemmell is leading an global team of scientists to Loch Ness next month to collect water samples from 300 different places in the loch.

However, many believe the "monster" could be a large fish like a catfish or sturgeon.

'Maybe there's a biological explanation for some of the stories'.

The University of the Highlands and Islands' UHI Rivers and Lochs Institute in Inverness is assisting in the project.

All of the samples will then be sent off to laboratories in Denmark, France, New Zealand, the U.S. and Australia - the sources of the samples will be masked, so the lab techs won't know which samples come from which loch.

"In our lives we want there still to be mysteries, some of which we will ultimately solve", Gemmell said. And that's very exciting. Still, the allure of finding evidence of the Loch Ness monster can't be denied.

Gemmell said that even if they don't find any monster DNA, it won't deter some Nessie believers.

"This DNA can be captured, sequenced and then used to identify that creature by comparing the sequence obtained to large databases of known genetic sequences from 100,000s of different organisms - if an exact match can't be found we can generally figure out where on the tree of life that sequence fits", he told the outlet.

By taking water samples from Loch Ness, the researchers will be able to establish what kind of organisms are living in the area.

The Loch Ness Monster is one of Scotland's oldest and most enduring myths. For hundreds of years, visitors to Scotland's Loch Ness have described seeing a monster that some believe lives in the depths.

Successive scientific examinations, including a 10-year study by the Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau in the 1960s and 70s - have produced no evidence that the legendary beast exists.

In tourism terms, there are two exhibitions dedicated to the monster and there is not a tourist shop in the Highlands, and even more widely across Scotland, where a cuddly toy of Nessie can not be found.

In 2016, the inaugural Inverness Loch Ness International Knitting Festival exhibited knitted Nessie's made from all parts of the world.

Gary Campbell, who keeps a register of sightings, said no-one had come forward in 18 months to say they had seen the monster.

Researchers are DNA testing Loch Ness to identify the monster