Squalene is widely used in pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, cosmetics and other fields because of its strong antioxidative, antibacterial and anti-tumor activities. In order to produce squalene, a gene ispA encoding farnesyl pyrophosphate synthase was overexpressed in a previously engineered Escherichia coli strain capable of efficiently producing terpenoids, resulting in a chassis strain that efficiently synthesizes triterpenoids. Through phylogenetic analysis, screening, cloning and expression of squalene synthase derived from different prokaryotes, engineered E. coli strains capable of efficiently producing squalene were obtained. Among them, squalene produced by strains harboring squalene synthase derived from Thermosynechococcus elongatus and Synechococcus lividus reached (16.5±1.4) mg/g DCW ((167.1±14.3) mg/L broth) and (12.0±1.9) mg/g DCW ((121.8±19.5) mg/L broth), respectively. Compared with the first-generation strains harboring the human-derived squalene synthase, the squalene synthase derived from T. elongatus and S. lividus remarkably increased the squalene production by 3.3 times and 2.4 times, respectively, making progress toward the cost-effective heterologous production of squalene.