Functional genomic and transformation resources for commercially important red macroalgae (Rhodophyta)

Kusum Khatri, Jaykumar Patel, Jessica M.M. Adams, Huw D. Jones, Dylan W. Phillips*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Red macroalgae underpin many commercially important food, pharmaceutical and other important industries. To date, research into these species has generally focused on improving seaweed cultivation, developing new methods to extract useful compounds, or identify novel applications. Due to their economic importance, there is a requirement to develop a more complete understanding of the genome and metabolic pathways in these key seaweed species. This review describes progress in genomics, transcriptomics, protoplast isolation, and transformation approaches. It also explores the potential of genome editing using the CRISPR/Cas system to further our understanding of gene function related to different metabolic pathways and resolving unexplored aspects of macroalgal physiology traits linked to crop improvement. The application of functional genomics is essential to gain a complete understanding of both physiological and metabolomic processes, that will ultimately enhance the commercial resilience of macroalgae related industries that are subject to numerous pressures, including climate change. Although the use of genetic manipulation to alter growth characteristics or composition in seaweed will not readily apply to the macroalgae industry in the short term, it is likely to be critical for sustaining future commercial growth. The functional characterisation of macroalgal genes through the CRISPR/ Cas approach promises to open new avenues for translational research on utilising macroalgal resources for the sustainable development of these aquaculture systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103227
Number of pages13
JournalAlgal Research
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2023


  • CRISPR/Cas
  • Genetic transformation
  • Genome editing
  • Genomics
  • Macroalgae
  • Transcriptomics


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