Throughout the biological sciences, the past 15 years have seen a push toward the analysis and engineering of biological systems at the organism level. Given the complexity of even the simplest organisms, though, to elicit a phenotype of interest often requires genotypic manipulation of several loci. By traditional means, sequential editing of genomic targets requires a significant investment of time and labor, as the desired editing event typically occurs at a very low frequency against an overwhelming unedited background. In recent years, the development of a suite of new techniques has greatly increased editing efficiency, opening up the possibility for multiple editing events to occur in parallel. Termed as multiplexed genome engineering, this approach to genome editing has greatly expanded the scope of possible genome manipulations in diverse hosts, ranging from bacteria to human cells. The enabling technologies for multiplexed genome engineering include oligonucleotide-based and nuclease-based methodologies, and their application has led to the great breadth of successful examples described in this review. While many technical challenges remain, there also exists a multiplicity of opportunities in this rapidly expanding field.
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