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“We must preserve Lascaux !”

Posté le 02 August 2016 par L'équipe Lascaux

A team of students at the bedside of the famous cave’s frescoes

“The Lascaux cave is a unique site that it is important for us to preserve.”


We’re a team of 8 female students from the lovely pink city of Toulouse and we’ve taken up the challenge of proposing a biological solution in order to participate in preserving the Lascaux cave. But why protect it? This cave is our historical heritage, and its ecosystem has been disturbed in the past years: bacteria and coloured moulds appeared on the walls of the cave and covered the frescoes…

We are participating in the renowned IGEM synthetic biology competition organised by the prominent university of MIT in Boston (editor’s note: from Oct. 27th – 30th 2016). This competition brings together more than 300 student teams from all over the world. During the finals at the end of October we will explain our project before a jury composed of renowned scientists !

Our Paleotilis project is as original as it is innovative, and it focuses on the branch of biology that is the core of our studies. To get to the heart of the subject, we’re going to talk about science…

We are working on the bacteria Bacillus subtilis with the idea of making it capable of releasing fungicides and limiting the propagation of bacteria harmful to the cave. But what are the risks of disseminating these bacteria outside the cave? No need to panic! We’ve reflected a great deal on this aspect of the project so that by using a closed system it will be safe both environmentally and ethically !

Even if our project entails several months of work, it will remain at the conceptual stage! We hope however that it will contribute to opening other avenues of research for scientists working on the Lascaux cave.

To follow the progress of the project, you may follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or even support us on Ulule! If you wish to discuss it with the team, write to us at, we’ll be happy to discuss it with you.

The Toulouse IGEM team !


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