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Antarctic bacteria a clue to different kinds of life: study

A study by polar researchers has revealed an ancient community of bacteria able to thrive in the lightless, oxygen-depleted, salty environment beneath nearly 70 feet of ice in an Antarctic lake, giving insight into the unique ecosystem.

The research, funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA, provides clues about biochemical processes not linked to sunlight, carbon dioxide and oxygen - or photosynthesis.

The authors of the study say it may explain the potential for life in salty, cryogenic environments beyond Earth, where energy in ecosystems is typically fueled by the sun.

The study, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, came out of a collaborative effort of polar researchers from a number of institutions, including the University of Illinois at Chicago, Montana State University and the University of Colorado.
 
 

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