Dr. Amir Sagi, a professor at Israel’s Ben Gurion University of the Negev, has been awarded the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s (GAA) inaugural Novus Global Aquaculture Innovation Award. He was selected in recognition of his invention of a novel biotechnology system that facilitates the production of all-male populations of the giant freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii.
Sagi’s system uses temporal RNA interference in the breeding process, rather than genetically altering the shrimp genes through genetic engineering.
His invention also addresses what is recognized as “a key obstacle” in the production of Macrobrachium rosenbergii: the manual sorting of juveniles by gender.
“The judges feel that this innovation could stimulate expansion in freshwater prawn production without genetic modification or use of exogenous hormones,” reads a statement from GAA.
The judges believe Sagi’s invention will make an outstanding contribution to the development of a more efficient and productive shrimp-aquaculture industry.
He received the award, sponsored by Novus International, at GAA’s GOAL 2013 conference in Paris, France.