BEN-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel has developed an advanced gene silencing biotechnology for aquaculture that changes the sex of prawns and yields faster-growing, all-male populations, resulting in greater output and farmer income.
"The technology is sustainable because it doesn't use any chemicals or hormones and does not create genetically modified organisms," BGU professor Amir Sagi said. "This is made possible through the unique monosex culture of prawns, which we can obtain by using our original discovery of a naturally occurring, androgenic hormone that influences their gender. Since males are faster growers, this discovery could help farmers increase their income."
The innovative technique was patented and licensed through BGN Technologies, BGU's technology transfer company, to Tiran Group, an Israeli shipping company that operates aquaculture farms in China. Tiran Group is also working with Green Advance Ltd. in Vietnam to implement the technology.
Sagi "has pioneered a number of techniques to increase rice and crustacean output in countries like Vietnam for years," said Doron Krakow, executive vice president of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "As the world faces a challenging population growth and decreasing resources, his work provides sustainable solutions for developing nations."
American Associates BGU plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion's vision of creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the university's expertise locally and around the globe.