News / Science & Technology

Russian Scientist Dismisses Claim of New Life in Antarctic Lake

Russian researchers at the Vostok station in Antarctica after reaching subglacial Lake Vostok. Scientists hold a sign reading "05.02.12, Vostok station, boreshaft 5gr, lake at depth 3769.3 metres."Russian researchers at the Vostok station in Antarctica after reaching subglacial Lake Vostok. Scientists hold a sign reading "05.02.12, Vostok station, boreshaft 5gr, lake at depth 3769.3 metres."
x
Russian researchers at the Vostok station in Antarctica after reaching subglacial Lake Vostok. Scientists hold a sign reading "05.02.12, Vostok station, boreshaft 5gr, lake at depth 3769.3 metres."
Russian researchers at the Vostok station in Antarctica after reaching subglacial Lake Vostok. Scientists hold a sign reading "05.02.12, Vostok station, boreshaft 5gr, lake at depth 3769.3 metres."
VOA News
A Russian scientist is disputing claims made last week by some of his colleagues that new life forms had been found in water samples from a lake hidden beneath the Antarctic ice sheet for the past 14 million years.

A Russian team was the first to reach Lake Vostok last year, punching through nearly four kilometers of Antarctic glacier after a decade of intermittent drilling. One of the Russian scientists analyzing the water samples -- Sergei Bulat of the St. Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute -- told the RIA Novosti news agency last week the research team has concluded that the "unclassified" bacterial DNA they found in the lake's icy darkness "does not match any known species in world databases."

But then the head of the Institute, Vladimir Korolyov, told the Interfax news agency that the claim was premature, and that the only life forms they found in the water samples are biological contaminants from either drilling fluids, the laboratory environment or the scientists themselves.

"We cannot say that a previously unknown bacteria was found," Korolyov told the news agency. He added that the Russian team is hoping that newly designed equipment will enable them to extract more reliably pure water samples from Lake Vostok beginning next year.

FILE - An ice core is seen at the Vostok camp in Antarctica in this April 5, 2010 handout photograph.FILE - An ice core is seen at the Vostok camp in Antarctica in this April 5, 2010 handout photograph.
x
FILE - An ice core is seen at the Vostok camp in Antarctica in this April 5, 2010 handout photograph.
FILE - An ice core is seen at the Vostok camp in Antarctica in this April 5, 2010 handout photograph.
The discovery of living organisms in the subglacial lakes of Antarctica would help shed new light on how life can survive in extreme conditions -- not only on Earth, but also on distant worlds such as Mars or the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

British and U.S. research teams have been working to similar ends at other subglacial lakes near the southern pole. The British abandoned their quest last year, but the American team recently drilled through to Lake Whillans and this past February took samples of what they called "living cells" from the icy water. They are still analyzing the find to identify what kinds of bacteria they are and how they manage to live without light or air.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid