College of American Pathologists
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The special needs of RNA processing

March 2001
William Check, PhD

Several novel products have been devised to meet the special needs of RNA processing.

Rachele Kardon, manager of technical service at Ambion (Austin, Texas), says Ambion’s popular product RNAlater is not a fixative but a medium for storing and stabilizing RNA in tissue or cells. It is added prior to extraction and inactivates RNases. "With RNAlater," Kardon says, "you can store tissue or cell samples for one day at 37°C, for one week at room temperature, for one month at 4°C, and indefinitely at minus 20° or 80°C." It can be used with most tissues, cells in culture, and leukocytes, but not whole blood.

Qiagen’s RNeasy Protect kits incorporate the RNAlater reagent under license.

PreAnalytix, a joint venture between Qiagen and Becton Dickinson and Co., is developing integrated systems that standardize the collection, stabilization, and purification of RNA and DNA from blood, bone marrow, and tissues. Its Paxgene Blood RNA System preserves transcript levels, which typically undergo rapid changes due to degradation and upregulation. On the front end, it employs an evacuated blood collection device that immediately and in one tube lyses the cells, isolates nucleic acids, and stabilizes RNA. The collection device and silica membrane-based purification kit are chemically integrated, aiding RNA quality. "By consolidating and integrating the steps of sample collection, stabilization, and purification," says Bruce Haywood, PreAnalytix marketing manager, "the system removes much of the unpredictability associated with RNA processing."