Omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) have received growing attention due to their significant roles in human health. Currently the main source of these nutritionally and medically important fatty acids is marine fish, which has not met ever-increasing global demand. Microorganisms are an important alternative source also being explored. Although many microorganisms accumulate omega-3 LC-PUFAs naturally, metabolic engineering might still be necessary for significantly improving their yields. Here, we review recent research involving the engineering of microorganisms for production of omega-3 LC-PUFAs, including eicospentaenoic acid and docosohexaenoic acid. Both reconstitution of omega-3 LC-PUFA biosynthetic pathways and modification of existing pathways in microorganisms have demonstrated the potential to produce high levels of omega-3 LC-PUFAs. However, the yields of omega-3 LC-PUFAs in host systems have been substantially limited by potential metabolic bottlenecks, which might be caused partly by inefficient flux of fatty acid intermediates between the acyl-CoA and different lipid class pools. Although fatty acid flux in both native and heterologous microbial hosts might be controlled by several acyltransferases, evidence has suggested that genetic manipulation of one acyltransferase alone could significantly increase the accumulation of LC-PUFAs. The number of oleaginous microorganisms that can be genetically transformed is increasing, which will advance engineering efforts to maximize LC-PUFA yields in microbial strains. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.