CRISPR-Cas has revolutionized genetic modification with its comparative simplicity and accuracy, and it can be used even at the genomic level. Microalgae are excellent feedstocks for biofuels and nutraceuticals because they contain high levels of fatty acids, carotenoids, and other metabolites; however, genome engineering for microalgae is not yet as developed as for other model organisms. Microalgal engineering at the genetic and metabolic levels is relatively well established, and a few genomic resources are available. Their genomic information was used for a "safe harbor" site for stable transgene expression in microalgae. This review proposes further genome engineering schemes including the construction of sgRNA libraries, pan-genomic and epigenomic resources, and mini-genomes, which can together be developed into synthetic biology for carbon-based engineering in microalgae. Acetyl-CoA is at the center of carbon metabolic pathways and is further reviewed for the production of molecules including terpenoids in microalgae.
Keywords: Acetyl-CoA; CRISPR-Cas; Genome engineering; Microalgae; Synthetic biology.
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