Recent Advances in Algal Genetic Tool Development

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The goal of achieving cost-effective biofuels and bioproducts derived from algal biomass will require improvements along the entire value chain, including identification of robust, high-productivity strains and development of advanced genetic tools. Though there have been modest advances in development of genetic systems for the model alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, progress in development of algal genetic tools, especially as applied to non-model algae, has generally lagged behind that of more commonly utilized laboratory and industrial microbes. This is in part due to the complex organellar structure of algae, including robust cell walls and intricate compartmentalization of target loci, as well as prevalent gene silencing mechanisms, which hinder facile utilization of conventional genetic engineering tools and methodologies. However, recent progress in global tool development has opened the door for implementation of strain-engineering strategies in industrially-relevant algal strains. Here, we review recent advances in algal genetic tool development and applications in eukaryotic microalgae.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)192-197
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Biotechnology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-65870


  • algae
  • biofuels
  • bioproducts
  • genetic engineering
  • photosynthesis
  • synthetic biology


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