Talk by Sergey Bulat, Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute – Niels Bohr Institute - University of Copenhagen

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Talk by Sergey Bulat, Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute

Speaker: Sergey Bulat, Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute, NRC Kurchatovsky institute, Gatchina, 188300, Russia

The objective was to estimate microbial content of accretion ice originating from frozen water of the subglacial Lake Vostok buried beneath 4-km thick East Antarctic ice sheet as well as first samples of the lake water (RAE57) with the ultimate goal to discover the life in this extreme icy environment. As a result, the DNA study constrained by Ancient DNA research criteria along with cell enumeration by flow cytometry pointed out that the surface snow along with the whole Vostok ice core including the closest to the ice-water boundary accretion ice samples (3714m) contain the very low microbial biomass generating no reliable DNA signals which is comparable with background contamination level (a few cells per ml). The preliminary analyses of the first lake water samples being frozen on a drill bit at 3769.3m depth upon the subglacial Lake Vostok entry (February 5, 2012) are still in a progress, thus, leaving the possibility the life exists in the most upper water horizon of the lake water column. The findings will be reviewed in the context of what we expect to discover as well as in terms of astrobiology since the subglacial Lake Vostok settings are thought to be analogous to extraterrestrial icy moons and planets.