Advances in synthetic biology methods to assemble and edit DNA are enabling genome engineering at a previously impracticable scale and scope. The synthesis of the Mycoplasma mycoides genome followed by its transplantation to convert a related cell into M. mycoides has transformed strain engineering. This approach exemplifies the combination of newly emerging chromosome-scale genome editing strategies that can be defined in three main steps (1) chromosome acquisition into a microbial engineering platform, (2) alteration and improvement of the acquired chromosome, and (3) installation of the modified chromosome into the original or alternative organism. In this review, we outline recent progress in methods for acquiring chromosomes and chromosome-scale DNA molecules in the workhorse organisms Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We present overviews of important genetic strategies and tools for each of the three organisms, point out their respective strengths and weaknesses, and highlight how the host systems can be used in combination to facilitate chromosome assembly or engineering. Finally, we highlight efforts for the installation of the cloned/altered chromosomes or fragments into the target organism and present remaining challenges in expanding this powerful experimental approach to a wider range of target organisms.