The synthetic future of algal genomes

Hugh D. Goold, Jeffrey L. Moseley, Kyle J. Lauersen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Algae are diverse organisms with significant biotechnological potential for resource circularity. Taking inspiration from fermentative microbes, engineering algal genomes holds promise to broadly expand their application ranges. Advances in genome sequencing with improvements in DNA synthesis and delivery techniques are enabling customized molecular tool development to confer advanced traits to algae. Efforts to redesign and rebuild entire genomes to create fit-for-purpose organisms currently being explored in heterotrophic prokaryotes and eukaryotic microbes could also be applied to photosynthetic algae. Future algal genome engineering will enhance yields of native products and permit the expression of complex biochemical pathways to produce novel metabolites from sustainable inputs. We present a historical perspective on advances in engineering algae, discuss the requisite genetic traits to enable algal genome optimization, take inspiration from whole-genome engineering efforts in other microbes for algal systems, and present candidate algal species in the context of these engineering goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100505
JournalCell Genomics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 13 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s)


  • algal biotechnology
  • engineering biology
  • light-driven biotechnology
  • metabolic engineering
  • synthetic biology
  • synthetic genomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Genetics


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