DOI: 10.1111/mmi.15147 ISSN:

Unlocking the potential of microbiome editing: A review of conjugation‐based delivery

Pedro Dorado‐Morales, Morgan Lambérioux, Didier Mazel
  • Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology


In recent decades, there has been a rapid increase in the prevalence of multidrug‐resistant pathogens, posing a challenge to modern antibiotic‐based medicine. This has highlighted the need for novel treatments that can specifically affect the target microorganism without disturbing other co‐inhabiting species, thus preventing the development of dysbiosis in treated patients. Moreover, there is a pressing demand for tools to effectively manipulate complex microbial populations. One of the approaches suggested to address both issues was to use conjugation as a tool to modify the microbiome by either editing the genome of specific bacterial species and/or the removal of certain taxonomic groups. Conjugation involves the transfer of DNA from one bacterium to another, which opens up the possibility of introducing, modifying or deleting specific genes in the recipient. In response to this proposal, there has been a significant increase in the number of studies using this method for gene delivery in bacterial populations. This MicroReview aims to provide a detailed overview on the use of conjugation for microbiome engineering, and at the same time, to initiate a discussion on the potential, limitations and possible future directions of this approach.

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