The androgenic gland and monosex culture of freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii (De Man): A biotechnological perspective Academic Article uri icon


  • Males of the freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii (De Man) grow faster and reach a larger size at harvest than females of the species. It is thus obvious that culture of monosex all-male populations would be economically advantageous. Sexual differentiation in crustaceans is regulated by the androgenic gland (AG), which plays a pivotal role in the regulation of male differentiation and in the inhibition of female differentiation. In M. rosenbergii, AG removal from immature males resulted in sex reversal, with complete female differentiation. Similarly, AG implantations into immature females lead to the development of the male reproductive system. Sex-reversed M. rosenbergii animals were capable of mating with normal specimens to produce offspring. Early attempts in Israel and more recently, attempts in other countries to establish all-male populations through manual segregation showed that for the production of monosex prawn populations to be economically feasible, intervention via the AG is probably required. However, a suitable biotechnology is still to be developed, and an androgenic hormone has yet to be identified in decapods. Three lines of aquacultural and biotechnological research and development are proposed for the future: (1) Establishment of monosex cultures through manual segregation, together with the application of selective harvesting and claw ablation, as well as examination of different monosex culture strategies under a variety of economic conditions. (2) Microsurgical intervention in the AG, leading to the development of functional neo-females, which would subsequently be mated with normal males to produce all-male progeny. (3) Elucidation of AG bioactive products to enable biochemical or molecular manipulation of sex differentiation.

publication date

  • January 1, 2005