Nannochloropsis is a genus of fast-growing microalgae that are regularly used for biotechnology applications. Nannochloropsis species have a high triacylglycerol content and their polar lipids are rich in the omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid. Placed in the heterokont lineage, the Nannochloropsis genus has a complex evolutionary history. Genome sequences are available for several species, and a number of transcriptomic datasets have been produced, making this genus a facile model for comparative genomics. There is a growing interest in Nannochloropsis species as models for the study of microalga lipid metabolism and as a chassis for synthetic biology. Recently, techniques for gene stacking, and targeted gene disruption and repression in the Nannochloropsis genus have been developed. These tools enable gene-specific, mechanistic studies and have already allowed the engineering of improved Nannochloropsis strains with superior growth, or greater bioproduction.