Scientists are set to take a fresh approach in the hunt for the fabled Loch Ness Monster.
The scientists plan to investigate the waters of Loch Ness in Scotland next month and use environmental DNA sampling of the waters to try and identify everything that swims in it, the New Zealand Herald reported Monday.
“Whenever a creature moves through its environment, it leaves behind tiny fragments of DNA from skin, scales, feathers, fur, feces and urine,” lead scientist Professor Neil Gemmell, from New Zealand, told the Herald.
“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.
Gemmell said he’d be surprised if there’s any evidence of DNA sequences similar to those of a large extinct marine reptile, but he's eager to see what his team will find.
While researchers are keeping an eye out for “Nessie,” they said they're focusing on uncovering more information about bacteria in the loch.
“While the prospect of looking for evidence of the Loch Ness monster is the hook to this project, there is an extraordinary amount of new knowledge that we will gain from the work about organisms that inhabit Loch Ness – the UK's largest freshwater body,” Gemmell said.