The Tissue Collection: RNA Stabilization Solution
The Tissue Collection: RNA Stabilization Solution, RNAlater™ preserves and protects the RNA in fresh tissue samples from degradation prior to nucleic acid isolation. RNAlater rapidly penetrates samples and inactivates nucleases. Samples are simply placed in 5-10 volumes of RNAlater where they can then be stored refrigerated for weeks or months, before RNA isolation. Figure 1 demonstrates the quality of RNA obtained from tissue preserved in RNAlater. RNAlater provides the equivalent of quick-freezing a sample in liquid nitrogen without the inconvenience associated with processing frozen samples (i.e. grinding samples using a mortar and pestle). Although RNAlater can not preserve the RNA in previously frozen samples or rescue samples in which the RNA is already degraded, it brings a new level of standardization and reliability to sample collection by minimizing the time lag between sample procurement and RNase arrest, and simplifies the RNA extraction procedure.
Preserving RNA within tissues has many applications including the ability to collect and stabilize samples in the field or operating room (see "RNAlater Around the World: Don't Leave Earth Without It"), and making it easier to use a single sample for both histology and RNA isolation (see "RNAlater and Histology" below).