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RNAlater FAQs: Preserving RNA Before Isolation


Appropriate storage of cells or tissue samples prior to RNA isolation is critical for preservation of intact RNA within those samples. RNAlater is an aqueous solution designed specifically to maintain RNA integrity during storage of fresh tissue and cell samples. Here are some commonly asked questions regarding RNAlater:


1) How do I use RNAlater to store my tissue/cell sample?
For fresh tissue, simply cut samples to a maximum thickness of 0.5 cm in any one dimension and submerge in 5 volumes of RNAlater.

Cultured cells should be pelleted, resuspended in a small volume of PBS, then mixed with 5-10 volumes of RNAlater.

Once in RNAlater, samples can be stored for up to 1 day at 37C, 1 week at 25C, 1 month or more at 4C, and long-term at -20C or -80 .


2) Does storing samples in RNAlater have advantages over freezing samples on dry ice or in liquid nitrogen?
Using samples that were stored in RNAlater is much easier than using frozen samples. Frozen samples must be ground to a powder and then the frozen powder must be transferred to a tube for homogenization. This procedure is laborious, messy, risks loss of sample, and perhaps most importantly, may lead to sample thawing, which can compromise RNA integrity. Samples stored in RNAl
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