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In an effort to tackle this important problem, Dr. Salim Al-Babili’s research at KAUST focuses on understanding Striga related hormones in pearl millet. The germination of Striga seeds is triggered by chemical signals from the cereal plants. Professor Al-Babili therefore seeks to shed light on the biological compounds in pearl millet triggering the Striga infestation.
The end goal is to find a way to induce this Striga germination process in the absence of host plants. This would allow for the reduction and eventual elimination of Striga seed banks in infested soils.