Cells containing DNA have emerged as the first evidence of life in a subglacial lake in West Antarctica. On January 28, a U.S. research team retrieved water from Lake Whillans, which sits 800 meters below the ice surface. The water hosted a surprising bounty of living cells.
The scientists collected three 10-liter water samples from the lake. Preliminary tests conducted in mobile labs show that the cells are actively using oxygen. It may take months for biologists to identify the microbes present.
The microbes have been sealed off below the ice for at least 100,000 years.