Amazing Animals, Brilliant Science; how DNA technology is being used to help save Scotland's wildlife

by Dr Pete Minting (with foreword by ARC patron Chris Packham)

This stunning new book is one of the main outputs of our Great Crested Newt Detectives project in Scotland. Free printed copies are now being distributed to project participants, public libraries and schools in Scotland. A free PDF version can also be downloaded below. If you live in Scotland and would like a printed copy, please email [email protected] for more information.

The book includes a general introduction about DNA and how scientists use DNA technology to answer a huge variety of questions. In our Great Crested Newt Detectives project, we have been using environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling to discover great crested newt populations in Scotland and ensure that they are protected in future. Volunteers have helped us to find several 'new' great crested newt sites in Scotland, simply by taking a pond water sample for analysis.

The book features several more examples of how wildlife in Scotland is being helped or studied today, using DNA technology. These examples include many of Scotland's best known species, such as wildcats, golden eagles and pine martens. It also includes up-to-date information on progress with the reintroduction of the beaver, which was extinct in Scotland for approximately 400 years.

Children from across Scotland have helped to create this colourful book, with wonderful paintings, drawings and writing entries which were submitted to the Amazing Animals, Brilliant Science competition in 2017. The winning and highly-commended entries (plus several others) have been included.

Many thanks to everyone who has helped during the production of this book. The Great Crested Newt Detectives project was generously funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Hugh Fraser Foundation.

Download the PDF for FREE!