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Can We Describe Life on Exoplanets and Moons by Investigating Subglacial Volcanic Lakes in Iceland?

Subglacial volcanic lakes in Iceland constitute one of the most pristine ecosystem on Earth and are analogues for similar habitats for life on exoplanets and moons such as Mars and Europa.

The Horizon 2020 project, AstroLakes, aims at discovering novel bacterial and archaeal lineages in such lakes by combining metagenomic, culture and single-cell approaches. The outcome of the project will be a holistic multidisciplinary description of the functional structure of this particular ecosystem, leading to a better understanding of analogue environments on exoplanets and moons such as Mars or Europa.

AstroLakes addresses the questions of biodiversity and metabolic functioning of subglacial lakes by combining an environmental genomics approach, based on metagenomes and comparative genomics approach, based on genomes sequences from cultivated and single-cell isolates.

For more information, please contact Gregory K. Farrant at Matís.