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Limnol Oceanogr. 1998 Nov;43(7):1754-61.

Viruses in Antarctic lakes.

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  • 1Biological Sciences Center, Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada 89506, USA.
  • 2U NV, Reno


Water samples collected from four perennially ice-covered Antarctic lakes during the austral summer of 1996-1997 contained high densities of extracellular viruses. Many of these viruses were found to be morphologically similar to double-stranded DNA viruses that are known to infect algae and protozoa. These constitute the first observations of viruses in perennially ice-covered polar lakes. The abundance of planktonic viruses and data suggesting substantial production potential (relative to bacteria] secondary and photosynthetic primary production) indicate that viral lysis may be a major factor in the regulation of microbial populations in these extreme environments. Furthermore, we suggest that Antarctic lakes may be a reservoir of previously undescribed viruses that possess novel biological and biochemical characteristics.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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