Here's Jon's latest post on the quest for the Almasty:
"I had, of course, heard of Bryan Sykes, the eminent Oxford Professor of Genetics but I had never met him. Then, a few weeks ago, I appeared on Radio 4's Today programme, plugging a lecture that Richard and I were doing that night at the Grant Museum of Natural History in London. Both on the Today show and at the lecture we announced our forthcoming expedition to Russia.
"Professor Sykes was one of the listeners, and being unable to come along to our lecture in person, he sent along his charming personal assistant Ulla to make contact with us. A few weeks later (last wednesday, in fact) he and Ulla came to lunch at the CFZ and we thrashed out a plan whereby the CFZ will be able to help him with his research by carrying out a programme of DNA sample testing in the rural area of Karbadino Balkaria where we will be working.
"If, indeed, the Almasty have interbred with people in the past, the results of this genetic screening could yeild invaluable results.We would have become involved with this project anyway, because it is not only worthwhile, but will provide valuable supporting evidence for our quest, whatever the results.
"However Bryan, through his company Oxford Ancestors has also made a very generous donation towards expedition funds, so we can now free other funds to finish the museum.At this stage of the game everything in the garden is more than rosy."