Gebisa Ejeta

Gebisa Ejeta

Gebisa Ejeta at the ISPC Science Forum 2016. Photo by Desalegne Tadesse.
Born 1950 (age 6566)
Wollonkomi, Ethiopia
Fields Plant breeding, Genetics
Alma mater Purdue University
Notable awards World Food Prize (2009)

Gebisa Ejeta (born 1950[1]) is an Ethiopian American plant breeder, geneticist and Professor at Purdue University.[2] In 2009, he won the World Food Prize for his major contributions in the production of sorghum.

Early years

During primary school, Ejeta planned to study engineering when he reached college age. However, his mother convinced him he could do more working in agriculture. With assistance from the Oklahoma State University, he attended an agricultural and technical secondary school in Ethiopia, and also studied at what is now Haramaya University. The university and the U.S. Agency for International Development helped him earn a doctorate from Purdue University.

Working in Sudan during the early 1980s, Ejeta developed Africa's first commercial hybrid variety of sorghum tolerant to drought. Later, with a Purdue University colleague in Indiana, he discovered the chemical basis of the relationship between the deadly parasitic weed striga and sorghum, and was able to produce sorghum varieties resistant to both drought and striga.

On 2011 President Barack Obama appointed Gebisa Ejeta as Member, Board for International Food and Agricultural Development.[3]


Saballos, A., G. Ejeta, E. Sanchez, C. Kang, and W. Vermerris. 2009. A genome-wide analysis of the cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase family in sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) identifies SbCAD2 as the brown midrib6 gene. Genetics 181:783-795.

Vogler, R., T. Tesso, K. Johnson, and G. Ejeta. 2009. Effect of allelic variation on forage quality of brown midrib sorghum mutants. African J. of Biochem. 3(3):70-76.

Peters, P., M. Jenks, P. Rich, J, Axtell, and G. Ejeta. 2009. Mutagenesis, selection, and allelic analysis of epicuticular wax mutants in sorghum. Crop Sci. 49:1249-1258.

Saballos, A., W. Vermerris, L. Rivera, and G. Ejeta. 2009. Allelic association, chemical characterization and sacharification properties of brown midrib mutants of sorghum (S. bicolor (L.) Moench). Bioenerg. Res. 1:193-204.

Rich, P. J. and G. Ejeta. 2008. Towards effective resistance to Striga in African maize. Plant Signaling & Behavior 3:9, 618-621.

Amusan, I. O., P. J. Rich, A. Menkir, T. Housley, and G. Ejeta. 2008. Resistance to Striga hermonthica in a maize inbred line derived from Zea diploperennis. New Phytologist 178:157-166.

Knoll, J. E. and G. Ejeta. 2008. Marker-assisted selection for early season cold tolerance in sorghum: QTL validation across populations and environments. Theor. Appl. Genet.116:541-553.


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Government.

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Dole and McGovern
World Food Prize
Succeeded by
Beckmann and Luck
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