Mysterious bacterium found in Antarctic lake

In this Monday, Feb. 5, 2012 photo provided by the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute of St. Petersburg, Russian researchers at the Vostok station in Antarctica pose for a picture after reaching the subglacial lake Vostok.

Russian scientists say a new form of microbial life has been found in water samples taken from a giant freshwater lake hidden under kilometers of Antarctic ice.

The scientists said in Monday's statement that the "unidentified and unclassified" bacterium has no relation to any of the existing bacterial types. Sergei Bulat and Valery Lukin said that extensive research of the microbe that was sealed under the ice for millions of years will be necessary to determine its characteristics.

New samples of water retrieved from Lake Vostok are expected to be delivered to St. Petersburg in May aboard a Russian ship.

The Russian team reached the surface of the subglacial lake in February 2012 after more than two decades of drilling, a major achievement hailed by scientists around the world.
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