Microalgae are now the focus of intensive research due to their potential as a renewable feedstock for biodiesel. This research requires a thorough understanding of the biochemistry and genetics of these organisms' lipid-biosynthesis pathways. Genes encoding lipid-biosynthesis enzymes can now be identified in the genomes of various eukaryotic microalgae. However, an examination of the predicted proteins at the biochemical and molecular levels is mandatory to verify their function. The essential molecular and genetic tools are now available for a comprehensive characterization of genes coding for enzymes of the lipid-biosynthesis pathways in some algal species. This review mainly summarizes the novel information emerging from recently obtained algal gene identification. 2009 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
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