science

Scientist hunts for ‘monster DNA’ in Scotland

MNA Science & Tech Desk: Tales of a giant creature lurking beneath the murky waves of Loch Ness have been around for more than 1,500 years — and one academic hopes the marvels of modern science can finally unravel the mystery.

Neil Gemmell has travelled from the University of Otago in New Zealand to collect water samples in the Scottish lake, in the hope of finding out more about the creatures that inhabit its depths.

“Over 1,000 people claim that they have seen a monster. Maybe there is something extraordinary out there,” he told news agency, as he dropped a five-litre probe into the loch.

Gemmell said he would be keeping an eye out for “monster DNA” but the project was more aimed at testing environmental DNA techniques to understand the natural world.

Local resident Adrian Shine said Gemmell’s findings could contribute to his own long running research programme — The Loch Ness Project.

The venture was itself inspired by the efforts of earlier international explorers like American Dan Scott Taylor who patrolled the loch in his Beatles-inspired Yellow Submarine in the late 1960s.

“I’m sure that some species will be found which have probably not been described. They’re more likely than anything else to be bacteria,” Shine told news agency.

“If you did find something else — and I do emphasise the if — then you would actually get quite a good handle on what sort of creature, what class of animal, it is.”

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