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Addgene New Logo.jpg
FounderBenjie Chen
Kenneth Fan
Melina Fan
TypeNon-profit organization, Biological resource center
ServicesPlasmid repository

Addgene is a non-profit plasmid repository. Addgene facilitates the exchange of genetic material between laboratories by offering plasmids and their associated cloning data to not-for-profit laboratories around the world. Addgene provides a free online database of plasmid cloning information and references, including lists of commonly used vector backbones, popular lentiviral plasmids and molecular cloning protocols.


Addgene was founded in 2004, by Melina Fan, Kenneth Fan and Benjie Chen.[1][2]


Addgene's headquarters are located in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Addgene accepts plasmids from researchers for distribution and archival. Addgene obtains revenues and licensing fees using the free depository for commercial sale, and is selective at will in selling acquired depository plasmids to 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organizations at the industrial price for profit gains for its putative non-profit operation.

The organization covers the operating costs of maintaining and improving the collection by charging a nominal fee to scientists requesting plasmids.[3]

Plasmid repository[edit]

As of 2014 Addgene's repository comprised 30,000 plasmids, deposited by 1,700 labs.[4] Its plasmid collection contains plasmids used for functions such as genome engineering (including CRISPRS), gene expression, shRNA knockdown, viral-mediated gene delivery, detection of miRNA and promoter activity. The plasmid collection includes:

Tools and guides[edit]

Molecular biology tools

Vector Database—A curated list of over 4,000 vector backbones, including relevant cloning information and bacterial growth conditions.

Sequence Analyzer—An Addgene software tool for creating plasmid maps from sequences with annotated features and restriction sites.

Molecular Biology Reference—A collection of references for molecular biology reagents, such as primers, restriction enzymes and antibiotic concentrations.

Plasmid Cloning Guides

Molecular Cloning Guides—References to help scientists design plasmid cloning experiments, including tutorials on restriction enzyme digestion and PCR-based cloning.

Molecular Cloning Protocols—Specific protocols for a variety of plasmid cloning techniques, such as isolation of bacterial colonies, DNA purification by gel electrophoresis and bacterial transformation.


Addgene collaborates with institutes and consortia to curate plasmid collections for specific purposes. Examples of these collaborations include special collections from the Structural Genomics Consortium, Zinc Finger Consortium, the Cell Migration Consortium, the KLF collection and The Michael J. Fox Foundation.[5] The plasmids are available to both academic and industry labs.


Noteworthy depositors include:[citation needed]

Electronic Material Transfer Agreements[edit]

Addgene requires Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) for all materials transferred through Addgene to protect the intellectual property of plasmid depositors. Addgene developed one of the first electronic systems for handling MTAs.[6] By using the standard Universal Biological Material Transfer Agreement (UBMTA) and implementing electronic signatures, Addgene’s electronic MTA (eMTA) system expedites the approval process for plasmid orders.


Addgene won awards for innovation and research including Mass Nonprofit Network Award for excellence in Innovations,[7][8] Cambridge award program 2014 Award for Research & Development Laboratories,[9] Mass Technology Leadership Award Finalist 2012.[10]


  1. ^ Scudellari, Megan (2012). "Sharing Made Easy". The Scientist. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  2. ^ Fan, M; Tsai, J; Chen, B; Fan, K; LaBaer, J (Mar 25, 2005). "A central repository for published plasmids". Science. 307 (5717): 1877. doi:10.1126/science.307.5717.1877a. PMID 15790830.
  3. ^ Kamens, J (2012). "Got any plasmids?" (PDF). Lab Times. pp. 58–59. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  4. ^ Baker, Monya. "Repositories share key research tools". Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  5. ^ Resende, Patricia (3 October 2012). "Addgene partners with Michael J. Fox Foundation". Mass High Tech. Archived from the original on 9 October 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  6. ^ Herscovitch, Melanie; Perkins, Eric; Baltus, Andy; Fan, Melina (10 April 2012). "Addgene provides an open forum for plasmid sharing". Nature Biotechnology. 30 (4): 316–317. doi:10.1038/nbt.2177. PMID 22491276.
  7. ^ "mass nonprofit network nominates addgene for an excellence award" (PDF). Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  8. ^ "mass non-profit, nonprofit award 2013 excellence in innovation finalists". Archived from the original on 2013-09-02. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  9. ^ "cambridge recognition awarding". Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Mass Tech announces finalist". Retrieved 9 May 2014.

External links[edit]

Other plasmid repositories[edit]