Building a Genome Engineering Toolbox in Nonmodel Prokaryotic Microbes

Emily Freed, Jacob Fenster, Sharon L. Smolinski, Julie Walker, Calvin A. Henard, Ryan Gill, Carrie A. Eckert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus Citations


The realization of a sustainable bioeconomy requires our ability to understand and engineer complex design principles for the development of platform organisms capable of efficient conversion of cheap and sustainable feedstocks (e.g., sunlight, CO 2 , and nonfood biomass) into biofuels and bioproducts at sufficient titers and costs. For model microbes, such as Escherichia coli, advances in DNA reading and writing technologies are driving the adoption of new paradigms for engineering biological systems. Unfortunately, microbes with properties of interest for the utilization of cheap and renewable feedstocks, such as photosynthesis, autotrophic growth, and cellulose degradation, have very few, if any, genetic tools for metabolic engineering. Therefore, it is important to develop “design rules” for building a genetic toolbox for novel microbes. Here, we present an overview of our current understanding of these rules for the genetic manipulation of prokaryotic microbes and the available genetic tools to expand our ability to genetically engineer nonmodel systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2120-2138
Number of pages19
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2700-71612


  • bioengineering
  • genetic tools
  • genome editing
  • genome engineering
  • transformation


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