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Abiotic stresses, such as drought, salinity, extreme temperatures, chemical

toxicity and oxidative stress are serious threats to agriculture and the natural
status of the environment. Increased salinization of arable land is expected to
have devastating global effects, resulting in 30% land loss within the next
25 years, and up to 50% by the year 2050. Therefore, breeding for drought and
salinity stress tolerance in crop plants (for food supply) and in forest trees (a
central component of the global ecosystem) should be given high research
priority in plant biotechnology programs. Molecular control mechanisms for
abiotic stress tolerance are based on the activation and regulation of specific
stress-related genes. These genes are involved in the whole sequence of stress
responses, such as signaling, transcriptional control, protection of membranes
and proteins, and free-radical and toxic-compound scavenging. Recently,
research into the molecular mechanisms of stress responses has started to bear
fruit and, in parallel, genetic modification of stress tolerance has also shown
promising results that may ultimately

Targeted genetic engineering of human pluripotent cells is a prerequisite for

exploiting their
full potential. Such genetic manipulations can be achieved using site-specific
Here we engineered transcription activator–like effector nucleases (TALENs)

There are currently intensive global research efforts aimed at increasing and
modifying the accumulation of lipids, alcohols, hydrocarbons, polysaccharides,
and other energy storage compounds in photosynthetic organisms, yeast, and
bacteria through genetic engineering. Many improvements have been realized,
including increased lipid and carbohydrate production, improved H2 yields, and
the diversion of central metabolic intermediates into fungible biofuels.
Photosynthetic microorganisms are attracting considerable interest within these
efforts due to their relatively high photosynthetic conversion efficiencies,
diverse metabolic capabilities, superior growth rates, and ability to store or
secrete energy-rich hydrocarbons. Relative to cyanobacteria, eukaryotic
microalgae possess several unique metabolic attributes of relevance to biofuel
production, including the accumulation of significant quantities of
triacylglycerol; the synthesis of storage starch (amylopectin and amylose),
which is similar to that found in higher plants; and the ability to efficiently
couple photosynthetic electron transport to H2 production. Although the
application of genetic engineering to improve energy production phenotypes in
eukaryotic microalgae is in its infancy, significant advances in the development
of genetic manipulation tools have recently been achieved with microalgal
model systems and are being used to manipulate central carbon metabolism in
these organisms. It is likely that many of these advances can be extended to
industrially relevant organisms. This review is focused on potential avenues of
genetic engineering that may be undertaken in order to improve microalgae as a
biofuel platform for the production of biohydrogen, starch-derived alcohols,
diesel fuel surrogates, and/or alkanes.