Prof. Amir Sagi of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) last week participated in a ceremony marking the realization of an agreement between the Israeli Tiran Group and Green Advances, a Vietnamese company, to advance aquaculture in Vietnam using innovative BGU biotechnology to change the sex of shrimp and yield fast growing all-male populations.
The process was developed in Prof. Sagi’s laboratory at BGU and was patented and licensed through BGN Technologies, BGU\'s technology transfer company, to the Tiran Group, an Israeli shipping company with aquaculture farms in China.
The signing ceremony took place in Can Tho, Vietnam, the largest city in the Mekong Delta, Wednesday, November 21, 2012 in the presence of the governors of the Mekong Delta, the Israeli Commercial Attaché to Vietnam, Zafrir Asaf, Managing Partner of the Tiran Group, Haim Avioz and Chairman of Green Advance Ltd., Phan Minh Tuan.
“This is the first time that the aquaculture industry will be able to use advanced gene silencing to increase yields,” says Prof. Sagi. “The technology is sustainable since it doesn’t use any chemicals or hormones and does not create genetically modified organisms (GMO). This is made possible through the unique monosex culture of prawns, which we can obtain by using our original discovery of an insulin-like androgenic hormone that influences the sex of these prawns. Since the males are faster growers, this discovery could help local farmers increase their income.”
Incumbent of the Lily and Sidney Oelbaum Chair in Applied Biochemistry, Prof. Sagi is a former Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, a member of the Department of Life Sciences and the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev, and serves as President of the International Society for Invertebrate Reproduction and Development.