TESTS conducted on a famous web-footed wonder from the New Forest could unveil secrets about genetic mutations in human beings.

Stumpy the duck was born at the Warrawee Duck Farm in the forest in 2007, with four legs, tucking the extra two behind the two he walks on.

And even though he has lost his extra two legs now, after catching one on a fence in 2007 while the other one fell off last year, scientists from the University of Chicago want to study blood taken from the two-and-half-year-old duck.

Stumpy’s owner Nicky Janaway arranged for a small tissue sample to be taken during tests for bird flu and she explained scientists were almost at the breakthrough stage.

She said: “They said that this time next year they would be able to identify the gene that causes genetic mutation.”