For a final project in AP Biology, I am planning to design an experiment that uses the plasmid #170380 from Addgene. However, under availability they say "Academic Institutions and Nonprofits only".

Is there somewhere else that will ship plasmids to a high school student?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Schools don’t count as academic institutions? $\endgroup$
    – user438383
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ No, because I am doing this for a final, it's not a district wide thing. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 17:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Have you tried putting in your school as an academic institution? If this doesn't work, try to contact their help. It shouldn't be too problematic for you to get this plasmid. As a last resort you can try looking for papers who used this plasmid in their work and write a polite email to the corresponding author of the paper if he/she can supply you with the plasmid. Usually works pretty fine. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ I’m voting to close this question because it is about the definition of academic institutions rather than biology. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Nov 5, 2022 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


I'd suggest looking at the Terms and Conditions for nonprofit use, here is a screenshot of where it is on the webpage:

screenshot of a subsection of a website titled terms and licenses

Look at this form that they link to for legal understanding of what they mean:

  1. NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION(S): A university or other institution of higher education or an organization of the type described in section 501( c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (26 U.S.C. 501( c)) and exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 501(a)) or any nonprofit scientific or educational organization qualified under a state nonprofit organization statute. As used herein, the term also includes government agencies.


  1. The RECIPIENT and the RECIPIENT SCIENTIST agree that the MATERIAL: a) is to be used solely for teaching and academic research purposes; b) will not be used in human subjects, in clinical trials, or for diagnostic purposes involving human subjects without the written consent of the PROVIDER; c) is to be used only at the RECIPIENT organization and only in the RECIPIENT SCIENTIST's laboratory under the direction of the RECIPIENT SCIENTIST or others working under his/her direct supervision; and d) will not be transferred to anyone else within the RECIPIENT organization without the prior written consent of the PROVIDER.

All of this suggests to me that a high school would be fine, only wrinkle I can think of is whether they think that you can decontaminate any resulting materials (i.e. put it in a biohazard bag or bleach the hell out of it).


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