Author Topic: 3,500+ species discovered in Lake Vostok, underneath miles of ice  (Read 1855 times)

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Offline goodsamaritan

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Over 3500 different species have been identified by a form of statistical analysis known as metagenomics. Basically, they sequenced all the genetic material in their samples at once, and used sophisticated analytical techniques to make sense of the resulting jumble of information. This technique has proven extremely useful in identifying species in an agricultural soil sample, for instance, but this is the first time its use has revealed a whole group of totally novel organisms.

Startling headlines about new life forms in Antarctica’s Lake Vostok conjure up images of terrifying underwater creatures. But the reality is a little less lurid. VoR’s Alice Lagnado reports.

Hard work to uncover secrets

Lake Vostok is one of the most exciting places for scientists in the world today

This huge body of water has been cut off from the rest of the world for as many as 14 million years, though experts can’t put an exact figure on it. And the lake’s hidden under nearly four kilometres of ice, so it’s not easy to access.

Now, Russian scientists are working hard to uncover the secrets of Lake Vostok. They want to find out what might have been able to survive inside this extreme and sunless environment.

They believe that conditions in the lake are similar to those on Jupiter’s moon, Europa - where it’s thought that an ocean is concealed under an icy crust.
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