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Anissa Katti,

Editor (Antarctica)

 

LAKE VOSTOK – Russian scientists have drilled through a buried lake in Antarctica and found the presence of new bacterial life.

The Vostok Lake has been buried through sheets and sheets of ice for millions of years.  It is the place that has recorded the lowest temperatures on Earth, with -89°C. The isolated, confined and dark environment is prone to the proliferation of bacterial beings.

Dr Sergei Bulat, at the St Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics explains “After putting aside all possible elements of contamination, DNA was found that did not coincide with any of the well-known types in the global database. We are calling this life form unclassified and unidentified.”

After much scrutiny, the bacteria’s DNA was found to be 86% different to any other living or recorded organism. When the DNA is 90% different, the specimen is qualified as “unknown”.

This information needs to be verified by many more experts before the bacteria can be classified as new.

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons (Goddard Space Flight Center)

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