Quickest Way to Deposit Plasmids: The Deposit Spreadsheet

By Multiple Authors

Did you know that one of the quickest ways to submit deposits with more than 10 plasmids is to use our deposit spreadsheet? 

Our plasmid deposit process can be broken down into four simple steps:

  1. Send plasmid information to Addgene
  2. Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) approval 
  3. Send plasmids to Addgene 
  4. Quality control 

In this post, we’ll explain how to use our deposit spreadsheet to complete Step 1. Steps 2 and 3 are usually very easy — our tech transfer team will communicate with your organization’s technology transfer office or other authorized office directly to make sure the deposit agreement/MTA is taken care of and, once we have all of your plasmid data, we’ll send you prepaid shipping materials (i.e., a deposit kit) with instructions on how to send liquid DNA or bacterial streaks of your plasmids back to us. Our scientists will contact you if any issues arise during the QC process. As the depositing scientist, you will have the most involvement with Step 1, and, while data entry can be a chore, we’ve made it easy to send us your plasmid information in a deposit spreadsheet.

Download the Deposit Spreadsheet

The data entry process

On the Addgene home page, if you scroll over “Deposit” in the mega menu at the top of the page, you’ll see two options for data entry: “Online Submission” and “Spreadsheet Submission” (see Figure 1). Please read our “How to Deposit Your Plasmids with Addgene” blog post for a thorough guide to our online data entry process.

A screenshot of the Addgene home page with an arrow pointing at Spreadsheet Submission on the Deposit drop-down menu.

Figure 1: Begin the deposit process by clicking “Online Submission”
or “Spreadsheet Submission.”

If you’re depositing 10 or more plasmids, the Deposit Spreadsheet is the quickest option. Simply download the spreadsheet and copy and paste your plasmid data directly into our file, one plasmid per row, as outlined by the column headers. Required columns are shown in red in the spreadsheet (Figure 2) and are described in Table 1. Some cells have drop-down options for you to choose from, while others need to be filled with short-answer text. You can also directly paste sequence data into the appropriate full and partial sequence cells.

*Note: If you believe you need to deposit a collection that is greater than 75 plasmids, please contact us at deposit@addgene.org. These deposits are considered large deposits and are exceptions to our standard workflow. 

Table 1: Guidelines for the data fields in the deposit spreadsheet

Data Field


Plasmid Name

Use a descriptive plasmid name and match the name as it appears in its publication or as it is commonly known in your lab.

Plasmid Type

Choose from: Encodes one insert, encodes gRNA/shRNA, or empty backbone.


Answer “What does this plasmid do?” in <200 characters. A descriptive purpose focuses on the practical application of the plasmid and will help a scientist outside your field understand if this plasmid will work for them.

Species of Gene or Insert

Choose from: H. sapiens (human), M. musculus (mouse), R. norvegicus (rat), G. gallus (chicken), B. taurus (bovine), X. laevis (frog), D. rerio (zebrafish), D. melanogaster (fly), C. elegans (nematode), S. cerevisiae (budding yeast), S. pombe (fission yeast), A. thaliana (mustard weed), O. cuniculus (rabbit), synthetic, or other. If other, the species can be indicated in the “Species Other” column.

Relevant Mutations

Indicate the amino acid change as well as any functional consequences of that change. For example, “Mutated aspartate 123 to Lysine (D123K), lowers biosensor affinity for calcium.” 

Primary Vector Type

The vector type should describe how your plasmid is intended to be used. Choose from: mammalian expression, bacterial expression, lentiviral, retroviral, AAV, RNAi, luciferase, cre/lox, yeast expression, worm expression, insect expression, plant expression, mouse targeting, CRISPR, TALEN, synthetic biology, affinity reagent/antibody, unspecified, or other. If other, indicate type in “Vector Type Other” column. For example, you may enter “donor template vector”.

Cloning Method

Choose from: Gateway cloning, gene synthesis, Gibson cloning, ligation-independent cloning, restriction enzyme, TOPO cloning, unknown, or other.

Bacterial Resistance

Enter bacterial antibiotic resistance encoded in the plasmid that should be used to maintain a glycerol stock. Choose from: ampicillin, apramycin, blasticidin, bleocin (zeocin), chloramphenicol, erythromicin, gentamicin, hygromycin, kanamycin, nourseothricin (clonNat), spectinomycin, streptomycin, tetracycline, combinations of the above, or other.

High or Low Copy

Choose from: high or low copy. Choose “high copy” if a sufficient quantity of DNA is produced from a miniprep and “low copy” if special growth conditions are required or if the plasmid is difficult to grow.

Growth Temp

Choose from 30 °C, 37 °C, or room temperature.

Growth Strain

Please indicate which growth strain Addgene should propagate your plasmids in: DH5α, NEB Stable, ccdB Survival, Pir1, or other. Whenever possible, we propagate plasmids in the standard cloning strain DH5α. For plasmids with highly repetitive sequences (prone to recombination in bacteria) such as lentiviral, retroviral, and AAV plasmids, choose the NEB Stable strain. For plasmids containing the ccdB gene, such as Gateway vectors, choose the ccdB Survival strain. For plasmids that contain the R6Kγ origin of replication, choose the Pir1 strain. If your plasmid cannot be propagated in any of these standard strains, choose other, indicate strain in the “Growth Strain Other” field, and contact Addgene. We may require that you send your samples to Addgene pre-transformed in this strain.


If the plasmid will produce anything dangerous or toxic to humans in bacteria, select “yes” in the drop-down and contact Addgene. We can only accept plasmids that can be used under BSL1 conditions. 

Patents or Licenses

If there are any patents or licenses that could prohibit Addgene from distributing the plasmid, select “yes” from the drop-down and add an explanation in the adjacent Patent/License Explanation field.

Filling out and sending the deposit spreadsheet

Deposit spreadsheet shows column headers: plasmid name, plasmid type, purpose, PubMed ID, gene or insert name, alternative gene/insert name 1, alternative gene/insert name 2, and Entrez gene ID. A pop-up instruction box for the Purpose field asks “What does this plasmid do? Please enter a brief description (<200 characters).”

Figure 2: Example of the deposit spreadsheet showing the first eight columns
and a pop-up instruction box for the “Purpose” field.

If you ever have a question about what should go into a cell, hover over the cell and instructions will pop up. When you’re finished filling out the spreadsheet, save it in the format:


Replace ‘labname’ with the name of your PI and send the spreadsheet to deposit@addgene.org with the following information:

  • Addgene account username. In order for the plasmids to appear in your Addgene account under My Plasmids, we need to know your Addgene account username.
  • Shipping address and phone number.
  • Plasmid sequences or GenBank files. We encourage submission of QUEEN-generated GenBank files (Mori and Yachie, 2021) but can accept sequence files in any format.
  • Distribution status for your plasmids: Hold for Publication or Distribute pending QC.
  • The name of the Principal Investigator and Organization where your plasmids were first created.

From there, we’ll use the information in the spreadsheet to generate plasmid pages. We’ll send you a deposit confirmation email with a unique deposit number with links to the plasmid pages for your review. We’ll also mail you a deposit kit with instructions on how to prepare and ship the samples to Addgene and contact your technology transfer office about the MTA.

Pro Tip!

Download a new spreadsheet each time you want to submit new plasmids! We update the spreadsheet every so often and this ensures you are using our most up-to-date version!

We hope the deposit spreadsheet will help expedite your data entry and make it easier than ever to share your discoveries with scientists around the world.

This post was originally written by Tyler Ford in March 2017 and updated by Angela Holmes and Christina Mork in February 2024.  

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