Nessie believers face a wait for answers
50% off a six-month digital e-edition subscription with promo code '50OFF'
THE public could be waiting until the beginning of next year to find out if the Loch Ness monster is really hiding below the depths.
A collection of samples have now been taken from the murky waters of Loch Ness and sent to Hull so that the DNA can be extracted.
It is all part of a Kiwi scientist’s plan to finally answer the question of whether Nessie is real.
Neil Gemmell, geneticist and professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand, visited the Highlands with a team of specialist scientists to collect the water samples in June.
The Super Natural History Team will then study the samples in bases around the world for signs of DNA.
Mr Gemmell is satisfied that the collection process went well.
"All is going to plan but it is too early for any results," he said.
He believes it will be late in this year or the beginning of next before they have any revelations.
Once the DNA has been extracted in Hull the samples will be sent on to France and Switzerland to get the sequence data – the digital breakdown of all the DNA found.
"From there the data goes all over the world," Mr Gemmell added.
He has previously admitted that while he does not believe in the Loch Ness Monster he is "open to the idea of something unusual living in the loch".
The team used specialist equipment and boats to take samples up to 200m below the surface.
The research has reignited discussions within Scottish National Heritage (SNH) about what would happen if Nessie is found.In 2001, the organisation reacted to a period of peaked interest in the monster by revealing a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ action plan to take a DNA sample from any new species found before releasing them back into the loch.
Following research by Mr Gemmell, SNH have said they will "dust off the contingency plan" if the Loch Ness Monster is found.