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November 29, 2012 3:04 pm

Israeli University Develops Technology to Switch Prawn Gender

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An Israeli university has developed a potentially sustainable food source by changing the gender of prawns and increasing their yield. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

An Israeli university has created a method to change the gender of prawns and make faster-growing male populations of the species, resulting in greater yield and higher farmer income.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) developed this advanced gene-silencing biotechnology for aquaculture. “The technology is sustainable because it doesn’t use any chemicals or hormones and does not create genetically modified organisms,” said BGU’s Prof. Amir Sagi. “Since males are faster growers, this discovery could help farmers increase their income.”

The new technology has been patented to the Tiran Group, an Israeli shipping company that operates aquaculture farms in China, and is also working to implement the technique in Vietnam. “As the world faces a challenging population growth and decreasing resources, (this) work provides sustainable solutions for developing nations,” said Doron Krakow, executive vice president of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU).

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