Lake Vostok Offers Up Over 3500 New Unique Gene Sequences
Ryan Martin / 3 years ago
Scientists working at Antarctica’s Lake Vostok have discovered a staggering 3500 new unique gene sequences. Lake Vostok has been shut off from the outside world for over 15 million years and beneath the ice it hosts a complex ecosystem that scientists are amazed by.
“The bounds on what is habitable and what is not are changing,” said Scott Rogers, Bowling Green State University professor of biological sciences
The study, detailed briefly by Russia Today, was based on water brought back to testing labs after being drilled from the lake last year.
“We found much more complexity than anyone thought,” Rogers said. “It really shows the tenacity of life, and how organisms can survive in places where a couple dozen years ago we thought nothing could survive.”
Despite finding lots of unique gene sequences the life forms discovered in Lake Vostok are merely alterations of typical ocean and lake aquatic organisms. The reason they are similar is because the area was apparently temperate before being iced over 35 million years ago. 15 million years of isolation also helped the ecosystem to grow very unique and different allowing for unique gene sequences.
“Many of the species we sequenced are what we would expect to find in a lake. Most of the organisms appear to be aquatic (freshwater), and many are species that usually live in ocean or lake sediments.”
The scientists on the project said that they have barely scraped the surface of Lake Vostok and it will probably take a lifetime to discover the secrets of this unique sub-glacial lake that is the largest of its kind.
Image courtesy of PlosOne