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New Kind of Bacteria Discovered in Antarctic Lake by Russian Scientists

Update Date: Mar 09, 2013 01:03 AM EST
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An new kind of bacteria has been found in Antarctica on February, 2012 by a group of Russian scientists. The unidentified organism in water samples were taken out from Lake Vostok, the largest subglacial among 400 known lake on the Antarctic continent.

Lake Vostok is located at the southern Pole of Cold, beneath Russia's Vostok Station under the surface of the central East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is at 3,488 m (11,444 ft) above mean sea level.

In 2012, the team drilled through almost 4km (2.34 miles) of ice to reach the lake and collect the samples.

Seven samples of the same species of bacteria were found in water frozen. The match between its DNA and any known organisms never exceeded 86 percent, while a match of under 90 percent is already enough to indicate a new species, Bulat said.

"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," mentioned Sergei Bulat, of the genetics laboratory at the St Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics.

“If it were found on Mars, people would call it Martian DNA. But this is DNA from Earth,” Bulat added.

The organisms are prone to be different from known life since they have evolved in isolation, under massive pressure, and with almost no sunlight, for millions of years.

The Russian team is planning to do more tests, but requires more specimens of the bugs.

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