Russian scientists have dismissed initial reports that they had found a new type of bacteria in a subglacial lake in Antarctica.
Sergei Bulat of the genetics laboratory of the St. Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics had said March 7 that samples obtained from the underground Lake Vostok last year contained a bacteria bearing no resemblance to existing types.
But the head of the genetics laboratory, Vladimir Korolyov, told the Interfax news agency on March 9 that the strange forms were in fact nothing but contaminants.
Korolyov was quoted as saying, "That is why we cannot say that previously unknown life was found."
Lake Vostok is the largest subglacial lake in Antarctica.
Russian researchers last year drilled almost 4 kilometers to reach the lake and take the samples.
Based on reporting by AFP and Interfax