The gene sequences of some 3500 life forms discovered in ice cores from a deep lake buried a couple miles (3700 meters) beneath glaciers in Antarctica have been sorted out and found to be about 94 percent bacteria and 6 percent Eukarya. More than half of the life is made up of new genera and species previously unknown to science. That's kind of amazing. A while back, as the Russian-led team of scientists was just breaking through to the lake's surface, I put up what I thought was a short, satirical post about Lake Vostok, and what the researchers might encounter. Maybe it's not so satirical. These are life-forms that haven't seen the light of day (or the surface of the Earth) for more than 15 million years! Although none of them appear to be giant, carnivorous carrots revived from their cryogenic tombs, is it a good idea to bring these unknown microbes back up from their icy isolation? Are we just asking for trouble? What do readers think?

Open study at PloS

NOTE: The video embedded above is only the first of 4 parts of the 49 minute BBC documentary, The Lost World of Lake Vostok. The remaining parts can be viewed in the clips below. It's worth watching.

Lake Vostok, part 2 of 4
Lake Vostok, part 3 of 4
Lake Vostok, part 4 of 4

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