Unclassified Bacterial Life Found in Antarctic Lake

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Unclassified Bacterial Life Found in Antarctic Lake

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Lake Vostok is 2.3 miles below antarctic ice, and has been isolated for millions of years.

Russian scientists searching for life in subglacial Lake Vostok have found bacterial DNA that does not match any of the known subkingdoms of bacteria. "After excluding all known contaminants...we discovered bacterial DNA that does not match any known species listed in global databanks. We call it unidentified and 'unclassified' life," said Sergei Bulat, a researcher from the Laboratory of Eukaryote Genetics at the St. Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute. Lake Vostok is 2.3 miles (3.5 kilometers) below the ice of the Antarctic, and could have been frozen over as early as 17 million years ago. It has spent that time as an isolated environment, and any bacteria living inside its waters would have been split off from the outside world - evolving in their own environment. Building a phylogenetic tree from the microorganisms to determine its relationship to other species showed that the bacterium didn't fit into any categories in its taxonomic domain - in short, it has no known relatives.

The bacteria are likely extremely adapted to the high-oxygen environment inside the lake, and survive by geothermal heat. "If it were found on Mars, people would call it Martian DNA. But this is DNA from Earth," said Bulat. Tests, according to Bulat, are ongoing, but the chance further testing disproves the results is low. More samples are coming, which would give conclusive proof, but they are travelling to Russia by ship from the Antarctic. Researchers began drilling in 1989 to reach Lake Vostok, and it took 23 years to drill and be absolutely sure that the researchers wouldn't contaminate the lake when they reached it. In earlier studies of Vostok water, no microbes were found.

Source & Image: RIA Novosti

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Remember, do not let any unfamiliar dogs wander the encampment.
Keep the flame throwers fueld and handy.
Also we should subject all the scientist from that lab to blood tests.

There's a very good reason this instructional video is played to US Antarctic Research Teams at the start of the winter.

JonB:
"If it were found on Mars, people would call it Martian DNA. But this is DNA from Earth," said Bulat.

I love scientists, man.

On topic, this is pretty cool, although wasn't this the plot of an X Files episode? Pretty sure it was. If all the people turn up horribly murdered at the research base then WE ALL KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.

So... is it actually a bacterium or is this just a "microorganisms == bacteria" association by the writer? Because there's quite some difference between bacterium and archaea.

LavaLampBamboo:

JonB:
"If it were found on Mars, people would call it Martian DNA. But this is DNA from Earth," said Bulat.

I love scientists, man.

On topic, this is pretty cool, although wasn't this the plot of an X Files episode? Pretty sure it was. If all the people turn up horribly murdered at the research base then WE ALL KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.

It was, in season one which was the season where nobody knew if it would last so they did mostly one offs that ripped off movies. That one was The Thing.

TheSYLOH:
Remember, do not let any unfamiliar dogs wander the encampment.
Keep the flame throwers fueld and handy.
Also we should subject all the scientist from that lab to blood tests.

There's a very good reason this instructional video is played to US Antarctic Research Teams at the start of the winter.

Well that Thing reference didn't take long.

ANImaniac89:

TheSYLOH:
Remember, do not let any unfamiliar dogs wander the encampment.
Keep the flame throwers fueld and handy.
Also we should subject all the scientist from that lab to blood tests.

There's a very good reason this instructional video is played to US Antarctic Research Teams at the start of the winter.

Well that Thing reference didn't take long.

Took longer than I expected. Thought the first comment was going to be something like "Better get the flamethrowers."

No but seriously we should probably get the flamethrowers. These are bacteria that survived in a subglacial lake for possibly millions of years. You do NOT want to take risks with that.

Quaxar:
So... is it actually a bacterium or is this just a "microorganisms == bacteria" association by the writer? Because there's quite some difference between bacterium and archaea.

It's bacterium, the use of microorganisms is to keep language fresh and sentences varied. Thanks for helping prevent confusion!

It's that where they buried Richard Garriot's sanity?

Soon, the Antarctic ice sheet will explode, the oceans will turn red, and the Angels will return.

Calling it now, its the Thing.

I hope those scientists know that if they hear musical piping over a wide frequency range, especially if it sounds like it's trying to say "Tekeli-li, Tekeli-li," they need to get out of there. And heaven help them if they find any cyclopean architecture.

TheSYLOH:
Remember, do not let any unfamiliar dogs wander the encampment.
Keep the flame throwers fueld and handy.
Also we should subject all the scientist from that lab to blood tests.

There's a very good reason this instructional video is played to US Antarctic Research Teams at the start of the winter.

Exactly what I thought. Seriously, did everyone shit their pants when they found the damn thing?

hey science, quit ripping off the X Files and get your own storylines!

i'd like to see this go apocolyptic. also, 23 years to dig a hole? what gives science? instead of figuring out whats gonna kill us and unleashing it, how about you work on a better drill? no, you're right, ice is nigh-indestructable!

i'm of course being facetious, but 23 years to drill into frozen water is kinda terrible.

JonB:

Quaxar:
So... is it actually a bacterium or is this just a "microorganisms == bacteria" association by the writer? Because there's quite some difference between bacterium and archaea.

It's bacterium, the use of microorganisms is to keep language fresh and sentences varied. Thanks for helping prevent confusion!

I didn't actually mean your article but the original which had a somewhat confusing paragraph concerning that in it. You're welcome anyway.

And as a geneticist I'm very much interested in seeing some proper research published. Probably going to still take a while though. The waiting is the worst!

Owyn_Merrilin:
I hope those scientists know that if they hear musical piping over a wide frequency range, especially if it sounds like it's trying to say "Tekeli-li, Tekeli-li," they need to get out of there. And heaven help them if they find any cyclopean architecture.

I see what you did there. Although I guess this is the Lake of Madness.

We'd better send Kurt Russell to Antarctica immediately, he's our only chance.

Gabanuka:
Calling it now, its the Thing.

The Thing? Pbbt, you wish. What we've discovered is much, much worse then the Thing... We have found...

The Shoggoths!

You know, when the first person responds to a science article with Zombies and/or a sci-fi classic scenario, it's almost witty but not really since you could smell the joke coming right after the headline. When every post is that, it isn't witty at all.

Quaxar:

JonB:

Quaxar:
So... is it actually a bacterium or is this just a "microorganisms == bacteria" association by the writer? Because there's quite some difference between bacterium and archaea.

It's bacterium, the use of microorganisms is to keep language fresh and sentences varied. Thanks for helping prevent confusion!

I didn't actually mean your article but the original which had a somewhat confusing paragraph concerning that in it. You're welcome anyway.

And as a geneticist I'm very much interested in seeing some proper research published. Probably going to still take a while though. The waiting is the worst!

Oh, I second that. I wonder how they compete with each other, what their cell walls are like, and do they try to pop each other's cell walls with something not-too-toxic to humans...

VRSA and MDR Escherichia and all that.

As much as this does sound like the start of a sci-fi horror movie, nothing especially cool ever happens in real life so I'd imagine this is just going to kind of go nowhere and be forgotten.

To be honest my first thoughts were more along the lines of hollow earth conspiricy theories, and the idea that there are entire alternate biospheres below our feet.... namely that something leaked through "again".

Not likely, but I guess my imagination works a bit differantly nowadays.

life.. life always finds a way. even if it has to sit in a frozen over lake for 17 million years.

good news for the potential of life existing under the ice on europa as well

If their findings are confirmed by other researchers it will be very interesting to see where these buggers fit on the tree of life, how the different species down there interact with each other, and a myriad of other things. I have been waiting for years for the low down on Vostok's microbes. It is an exciting time to be a microbiologist.

DVS BSTrD:
It's that where they buried Richard Garriot's sanity?

Oh no, that is far outside the solar system by now.

As for scientists drilling holes in the ground and finding new things. Cool. I'm glad I'm not freezing there.

Best case scenario: It's simply bacteria.
Worst case scenario:

Mr.Mattress:

The Shoggoths!

Which may, or may not, lead to Yog Sothoth.

Get your virgin sacrifices ready.

im not sure if the big point is getting missed or i'm the only one that cares but its the

" 17 million years ago. It has spent that time as an isolated environment, and any bacteria living inside its waters would have been split off from the outside world - evolving in their own environment. Building a phylogenetic tree from the microorganisms to determine its relationship to other species showed that the bacterium didn't fit into any categories in its taxonomic domain - in short, it has no known relatives."

bit that gets me excited, this is another totally separate set of evolution and another big tick in the "meh life not actually that special" box.

Xpwn3ntial:
Soon, the Antarctic ice sheet will explode, the oceans will turn red, and the Angels will return.

Just so long as we make giant armored clone-Angels instead of giant robots... <.< I don't mind giant robots, but that movie is such a blatant rip-off.

Well Dimitri, every search for a hero must begin with a search for something every hero needs, a villain. So in search for our hero, Belairiform, we have created a monster, Chimera.

JonB:
"If it were found on Mars, people would call it Martian DNA. But this is DNA from Earth," said Bulat.

Well maybe Martian's crash landed on earth before it was frozen. What do you have to say to that Mr Science Man?

I imagine it is a case of DNA so old and isolated that it hasn't evolved in the same sense that other life has.

Alar:

Xpwn3ntial:
Soon, the Antarctic ice sheet will explode, the oceans will turn red, and the Angels will return.

Just so long as we make giant armored clone-Angels instead of giant robots... <.< I don't mind giant robots, but that movie is such a blatant rip-off.

What movie? Rahxephon? Because if you mean Rahxephon I agree.

martyrdrebel27:
hey science, quit ripping off the X Files and get your own storylines!

i'd like to see this go apocolyptic. also, 23 years to dig a hole? what gives science? instead of figuring out whats gonna kill us and unleashing it, how about you work on a better drill? no, you're right, ice is nigh-indestructable!

i'm of course being facetious, but 23 years to drill into frozen water is kinda terrible.

23 years to drill so they didn't contaminate with ANY external substances. Best take your time, you only get one shot.

Seeing how it grows at freezing temperature, and in a oxygen rich environment, without ever having any contact with an advance immuno-system, chances are this bacterium is pretty harmless.

...For now.

BUt have they found the kraken? No?

Then keep searching scientists!

... Ok, if all else fails we glass it. Not like anyone (to speak of) lives there.

martyrdrebel27:
hey science, quit ripping off the X Files and get your own storylines!

i'd like to see this go apocolyptic. also, 23 years to dig a hole? what gives science? instead of figuring out whats gonna kill us and unleashing it, how about you work on a better drill? no, you're right, ice is nigh-indestructable!

i'm of course being facetious, but 23 years to drill into frozen water is kinda terrible.

Well first off I'd imagine they could only drill 1-3 months of the year, so in that case it would realistically be only a few years of drilling. Second I'm not sure exactly how they do it but I'd imagine they'd have to take extra precautions to prevent the hole from filling back up and/or freezing over. I'm not sure how they'd accomplish that.

These bacteries didnt ask for this. we invaded their natural habitat and wrecked havoc, kidnapped their locals and are now conducting illegal experimentso n it. typical humans, invade maime and destroy.
\
Capcha: roll over. i think this is relevant.

NOPENOPENOPENOPENOPE Oh GOD WHY
I'm looking forward to seeing how they manage to fit it into classification. And hoping that it doesn't turn out to be ridiculously suited to a surface Earth atmosphere and outcompete everything and kill us all. You don't introduce shit to alien environments without expecting repercussions.

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