The authors express their gratitude to Dr. D.A. Gilichinsky (Institute of Physicochemical and Biologicak problems in Soil Science, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia) for scientific cooperation and assistance in providing the permafrost samples and their geological characteristic; Dr. A.L. Mulyukin and Dr. A.V. Kulbachinsky for providing useful comments and help in preparing the manuscript; E.I. Molchanova for expert technical assistance. This work was supported in part by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, grants 05-0449372 and 08-04-00263 and by the Russian Academy of Sciences Presidium Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology grant (to A. V. Kulbachinsky).

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