Plant and Animal Biotechnology Research Center

The Plant and Animal Biotechnology Research Center is one of the research centers of Jimma University, focusing on improvement of crops and livestock using the tools of agricultural biotechnology.


To serve as a center of excellence for  research and teaching in plant and animal biotechnology and develop biotechnology based products and tools for improving crop and livestock productivity.


Currently the center has molecular biology /breeding laboratory equipped with the necessary lab equipment including:

  • Tissue lyser & freeze dryer (high throughput DNA extraction system)
  • Micro-plate spectrophotometer   (DNA concentration plate reader)
  • Heavy duty centrifuges
  • Water purification systems
  • Freezers (-86oC, -40oC, -20oC)
  • Thermal cyclers (PCR machines)
  • Cold room
  • Electrophoresis units and others








Role of Plant and Animal Biotechnology

Agriculture is the main stay of the Ethiopian economy contributing over 41% of the gross domestic product (GDP), 75% of employment and 90% of exports (CSA 2014). However, due to the use of age-old

technologies and fast population growth, Ethiopian agriculture is facing the grand challenge of meeting the needs of the country and its population. Productivity of crops and livestock is very low and highly vulnerable to weather shocks such as drought. Hence, there is a need to use new technologies and tools that can enhance the productivity of crops and livestock.

Biotechnology is one of the advanced technologies and offers promising potentials where new tools of molecular biology and genetic engineering help to increase the efficiency of plant and livestock improvement. Thus, biotechnology can boost the productivity of Ethiopian agriculture while promoting environmentally friendly agricultural production patterns. Some of the applications of biotechnology in crop & livestock improvement include: mass propagation and production of disease free planting materials, enhancing the efficiency of breeding program and shortening breeding time, in vitro germplasm conservation, development of climate resilient crop varieties, assessment of genetic diversity, development of disease resistant crop varieties and animal breeds, improving quality of crop and animal products, development of vaccines against animal diseases, etc.

Despite  these potentials, Ethiopia had not benefited from this technology mainly due to lack of trained manpower and sufficient investments in infrastructure. Nowadays, the presence of some trained people together with the interest of the government to invest in biotechnology researches has created a better condition for the development of biotechnology. Therefore, this research center was established with the following objectives:

  • To conduct research in the areas of crop and livestock improvement focusing on major agricultural problems of the country
  • To train students in the fields of plant and animal biotechnology

Research Projects:

1. Advancing the Productivity Frontier for Sorghum

 Objectives :

  • Studying the diversity of sorghum
  • Mapping drought tolerance related QTLs using BCNAM populations
  • Mapping drought tolerance QTLs in elite Ethiopian sorghum
  • Capacity Building

Field and greenhouse testing for drought tolerance

2. Characterizing the Ethiopian Sorghum Germplasm Collection for Drought Adaptation


  • Characterization of Ethiopian sorghum collections for drought associated root traits
  • Mapping of chromosomal regions (QTL) associated with root and shoot traits for drought tolerance
  • Capacity building


Phenotyping for root angle variations

Project Funding Organizations:

  • USAID: Feed the future – Sorghum Innovation Labs
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Program For Emerging Agricultural Leaders

Project Partners:

  • University of Georgia (USA)
  • University of Queensland (Australia)
  • ICRISAT (India)
  • ARC (South Africa)
  • The land Institute (USA)


  • Kassahun Bantte (Prof), Center Head
  • Tel. +251-471118103
  • Fax: +251-471110934
  • Mobile: +251-917832801
  • E-mail: