russian scientists discovered a new life form in lake vostok


Published on March 9th, 2013


Russian scientists discovered a new life form in Lake Vostok?

Russian scientists announced that they had discovered in Antarctic lake Vostok, a bacterial life form that could be, with high probability, a new species.

Lake Vostok, the largest subglacial lake in Antarctica, was isolated in ice for millions of years. Last year, researchers drilled through a thick layer of ice about 4 kilometers to reach liquid water underneath and take samples of it.

In this isolated lake scientists hope to discover previously unknown species of microorganisms.

After removing all the elements that could have caused contamination of water samples with external substances or organisms, scientists have analyzed the DNA present, discovering that it is not identical to any of the types of global DNA database, which, as explains Sergey Bulat, from the Institute of Nuclear Physics from St. Petersburg, means that they are dealing with a form of life “unclassified and unidentified”.

Special attention was given to a certain type of bacteria whose DNA is similar to the proportion of more than 86% with the DNA of other known life forms. A level below 90% is generally that it’s a unknown body.

Lake Vostok is situated in one of the most inhospitable places on Earth

However, other experts say that data must be carefully verified by other laboratories, before announcing the discovery of a new species.

Lake Vostok, with an expanse of 15,000 square kilometers and a maximum depth exceeding 800 meters, is located in the east of the Antarctic ice sheet, a region where the lowest recorded temperature ever measured - minus 89 degrees Celsius, the July 21, 1983.

Source: BBC News

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