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Newly Discovered Iron-breathing Species Have Lived In Cold Isolation For Millions Of Years

A reservoir of briny liquid buried deep beneath an Antarctic glacier supports hardy microbes that have lived in isolation for millions of years, researchers report April 17 in the journal Science. The discovery of life in a place where cold, darkness, and lack of oxygen would previously have led scientists to believe nothing could survive comes from a team led by researchers at Harvard University and Dartmouth College. Their work was funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, and Harvard's Microbial Sciences Initiative. Despite their profound isolation, the microbes are remarkably similar to species found in modern marine environments, suggesting that the organisms now under the glacier are the remnants of a larger population that once occupied an open fjord or sea.
 
 

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