UPDATE: Tourist bosses welcome Loch Ness DNA investigation
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VisitScotland says Nessie investigation has shone a spotlight on the Highlands
This morning Professor Neil Gemmell of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand told a gathering in Drumnadrochit that DNA sampling of aters from varipus parts of the Loch Ness showed no traces of a plesiosaur, sharks, sturgeon or catfish which have all previously been suggested as explanations for the Loch Ness Monster phenomenon.
However they could not rule out that what people who claim to have seen the monster might in fact have seen is a giant eel.
Chris Taylor, VisitScotland regional leadership director, said: "Loch Ness and the mystery surrounding the elusive monster has fascinated visitors for years.
"It is a story that transcends Scotland and has become part of popular culture across the world, with appearances on television and in films, from The Simpsons to Missing Link, providing inspiration for millions.
"This scientific investigation, led by Professor Gemmell, into the inhabitants of one of Scotland’s largest lochs has once again shone a spotlight on the Highlands.
"Its findings will provide further insight into what lies beneath but questions still remain and visitors will, no doubt, continue to be drawn to the loch to seek the answers for themselves.
"With the Year of Coasts and Waters just around the corner it is a reminder of the international appeal of Scotland’s unique and unrivalled waterscapes.
Adrian Shine, leader of the Loch Ness Project, said: "Professor Gemmell’s environmental DNA survey of Loch Ness has furnished us, at a stroke, with species lists to compare with those we have compiled over the last 40 years with net and microscope.
"This powerful yet elegant technique has also brought a new maturity to the popular debate about what much larger creatures might sometimes be seen here."
Professor Gemmell's investigation is not the first into the depths of Loch Ness.
In 2016 a 30-foot long Loch Ness Monster model was found on the loch bed during a state-of-the art sonar search by Kongsberg Maritime supported by The Loch Ness Project and VisitScotland.
The finding was a prop from the 1970 film, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, directed by Billy Wilder and starring Robert Stephens and Christopher Lee and it is believed the model sank after its buoyant humps were removed.
Previous investigations have also uncovered a crashed Wellington bomber from the Second World War; a 100-year-old Zulu class sailing fishing vessel; and parts of John Cobb’s speed record attempt craft Crusader which crashed at over 200mph in 1952.
For more information on the DNA investigation visit: www.lochnesshunters.com
Related article: Scientists suggest Loch Ness Monster could be a giant eel