Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1 is a non-pathogenic soil bacterium known for its metabolic diversity and high natural transformation and recombination efficiency. For these features, A. baylyi ADP1 has been long exploited in studying bacterial genetics and metabolism. The large pool of information generated in the fundamental studies has facilitated the development of a broad range of sophisticated and robust tools for the genome and metabolic engineering of ADP1. This mini-review outlines and describes the recent advances in ADP1 engineering and tool development, exploited in, for example, pathway and enzyme evolution, genome reduction and stabilization, and for the production of native and non-native products in both pure and rationally designed multispecies cultures. The rapidly expanding toolbox together with the unique features of A. baylyi ADP1 provide a strong base for a microbial cell factory excelling in synthetic biology applications where evolution meets rational engineering.

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