'New DNA' found in Antarctic ice not new after all

Russian scientists believed they had found a new lifeform in Antarctica, but their samples may have been contaminated.

The new life found in a subglacial lake in Antarctica was just contaminants, Agence-France Presse reported Saturday.

Russian scientists said March 7 that they might have found a new form of life that had been entombed in a lake deep under Antarctica for millions of years.

Related: Russian scientists may have found new life under Antarctic ice

But Saturday AFP reported that the Russian scientists retracted the statement.

"We found certain specimen, although not many. All of them were contaminants" that were brought there by the lab during research, Vladimir Korolyov told the Interfax news agency.

Related: US scientists drill into lake deep under Antarctic ice sheet

The scientists drilled for more than a decade in Antarctica, eventually taking samples from a lake that hadn’t been touched for at least 14 million years. The scientists believed the bacteria they found was unlike any known species on Earth, but now that claim is looking doubtful.

The lake, Lake Vostok, is the largest subglacial lake in Antarctica, AFP reported. AFP said scientists have yearned to explore it for years, but first had to drill through more than two miles of ice.

When Russia started drilling, there were concerns about kerosene and antifreeze from the borehole contaminating the lake and any samples taken from it. The scientists initially said the DNA found in the samples did not match bacteria from the drilling fluid or any other source that could have contaminated the results.

Related: Britain suspends exploratory drilling of Antarctic lake


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