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Geomicrobiology of Subglacial Ice Above Lake Vostok, Antarctica

Science  10 Dec 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5447, pp. 2141-2144
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5447.2141

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Abstract

Data from ice 3590 meters below Vostok Station indicate that the ice was accreted from liquid water associated with Lake Vostok. Microbes were observed at concentrations ranging from 2.8 × 103 to 3.6 × 104 cells per milliliter; no biological incorporation of selected organic substrates or bicarbonate was detected. Bacterial 16S ribosomal DNA genes revealed low diversity in the gene population. The phylotypes were closely related to extant members of the alpha- andbeta-Proteobacteria and the Actinomycetes. Extrapolation of the data from accretion ice to Lake Vostok implies that Lake Vostok may support a microbial population, despite more than 106 years of isolation from the atmosphere.

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