Being the green gold of the future, microalgae and cyanobacteria have recently attracted considerable interest worldwide, for their metabolites such as lipids, protein, pigments, and bioactive compounds have immense potential for sustainable energy and pharmaceutical production capabilities. In the last decades, the efforts attended to enhance the usage of microalgae and cyanobacteria by genetic manipulation, synthetic and metabolic engineering. However, the development of photoautotrophic cell factories have rarely compared to the heterotrophic counterparts due to limited tools, bioinformatics, and multi-omics database. Therefore, recent advances of their genome editing techniques by clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) technology, and potential applications of their metabolic engineering and regulation approaches are examined in this review. Moreover, the contemporary achievements of synthetic biology approaches of microalgae and cyanobacteria in carbon fixation and sequestration, lipid and triacylglycerol (TAG), and sustainable production of high value-added chemicals, such as carotenoids and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been also discussed. From recent genomic study to trends in metabolic regulation of microalgae and cyanobacteria and a comprehensive assessment of the current challenges and opportunities for microalgae and cyanobacteria is also conducted.
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