Genetic engineering applications in the field of biofuel are rapidly expanding due to their potential to boost biomass productivity while lowering its cost and enhancing its quality. Recently, fourth-generation biofuel (FGB), which is biofuel obtained from genetically modified (GM) algae biomass, has gained considerable attention from academic and industrial communities. However, replacing fossil resources with FGB is still beset with many challenges. Most notably, technical aspects of genetic modification operations need to be more fully articulated and elaborated. However, relatively little attention has been paid to GM algal biomass. There is a limited number of reviews on the progress and challenges faced in the algal genetics of FGB. Therefore, the present review aims to fill this gap in the literature by recapitulating the findings of recent studies and achievements on safe and efficient genetic manipulation in the production of FGB. Then, the essential issues and parameters related to genome editing in algal strains are highlighted. Finally, the main challenges to FGB pertaining to the diffusion risk and regulatory frameworks are addressed. This review concluded that the technical and biosafety aspects of FGB, as well as the complexity and diversity of the related regulations, legitimacy concerns, and health and environmental risks, are among the most important challenges that require a strong commitment at the national/international levels to reach a global consensus.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.