Head of Genetics Lab Dismisses Reports of New Lake Vostok Bacteria


Russian researchers pose for a picture after reaching the subglacial Lake Vostok in Antarctica on February 5, 2012.

“We found certain specimen, although not many. All of them were contaminants,” says Vladimir Korolyov, head of the genetics laboratory at the same institute that declared a strange new type of bacterial life was found in Lake Vostok samples.

Korolyov insists that the bacteria were contaminants brought in to the lab during research, and there is no new lifeform present in any of the Russian expedition’s samples yet inspected.

Lake Vostok is the world’s largest subglacial lake, which has been frozen at the surface for at least a million years, though it retains a deep pool of liquid water. Last year, a Russian team of researchers drilled more than two miles deep into the lake, taking samples before the “warm season” ended.

Personally, I find this to be a bit of a bummer; I was hoping something sensational might happen with the Vostok expedition, and briefly, it seemed like it had. Ah well. Back to the lab!


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