New developments in engineering plant metabolic pathways.

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Plants contain countless metabolic pathways that are responsible for the biosynthesis of complex metabolites. Armed with new tools in sequencing and bioinformatics, the genes that encode these plant biosynthetic pathways have become easier to discover, putting us in an excellent position to fully harness the wealth of compounds and biocatalysts (enzymes) that plants provide. For overproduction and isolation of high-value plant-derived chemicals, plant pathways can be reconstituted in heterologous hosts. Alternatively, plant pathways can be modified in the native producer to confer new properties to the plant, such as better biofuel production or enhanced nutritional value. This perspective highlights a range of examples that demonstrate how the metabolic pathways of plants can be successfully harnessed with a variety of metabolic engineering approaches.