Cover Picture: Recent years have seen the development of high-accuracy and high-throughput genetic manipulation techniques, which have greatly improved our understanding of genetically tractable microbes. However, challenges remain in establishing genetic manipulation techniques in novel organisms, owing largely to exogenous DNA defence mechanisms, lack of selectable markers, lack of efficient methods to introduce exogenous DNA and an inability of genetic vectors to replicate in their new host. In this review, we describe some of the techniques that are available for genetic manipulation of novel microorganisms. While many reviews exist that focus on the final step in genetic manipulation, the editing of recipient DNA, we particularly focus on the first step in this process, the transfer of exogenous DNA into a strain of interest. Examples illustrating the use of these techniques are provided for a selection of human gut bacteria in which genetic tractability has been established, such as Bifidobacterium, Bacteroides and Roseburia. Ultimately, this review aims to provide an information source for researchers interested in developing genetic manipulation techniques for novel bacterial strains, particularly those of the human gut microbiota.
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