Watch CBSN Live

Russian scientists recant on new DNA in Lake Vostok

Russian scientists are retracting statements previously reported last week to Russian State Media, RIA Novosti.

Sergei Bulat,  a researcher at the Laboratory of Eukaryote Genetics at the St. Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute, originally told RIA that they that "call it unidentified and 'unclassified' life."they found new signs of life after examining water samples from the subglacial Lake Vostok.

However, on Saturday the Eukaryote Genetics Laboratory head Vladimir Korolyov, spoke to Interfax News Agency, and said that they actually did not find any new signs of life. He said they just found contaminants.

"We found certain specimen, although not many, but all of them belonged to contaminants," Korolyov told Interfax. "There was one strain of bacteria which we did not find in drilling liquid, but the bacteria could in principal use kerosene as an energy source."

Scientists believe that the drilling liquid from the tools to reach down into Lake Vostok could have contributed to a false reading.

"That is why we can't say that a previously-unknown bacteria was found," he said.

Scientists and researchers will continue to look for ways to get samples from Lake Vostok. Korolyov told Interfax that "deepwater devices" designed at the St. Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute would be brought in next year to test the water.

The race to find out what is under these subglacial lakes, could have spurred the rush to judgement. The United States took a sample from the shallower Lake Whillans earlier this year and is attempting to prove the same thing, while Great Brittan's attempt to drill at Lake Ellsworth was called off due to technical problems with drilling.

Lake Vostok, a frozen body of water, is located near the South Pole, and is the largest of the regions 400 subglacial lakes.