RNA extraction kits and reagents support a crucial step in the journey to discovery. For over two decades, our scientists have developed innovative and robust RNA extraction technologies to make those steps faster and more reliable.

DNA Learning Center

What is RNA extraction?

RNA extraction is a fundamental laboratory technique used to isolate RNA molecules from biological samples. The process often involves cell lysis, separating the RNA from other cellular components, and purifying it for downstream analysis.

Basics of RNA extraction

What is the purpose of RNA extraction?

The purpose of RNA extraction is to obtain high-quality purified RNA from biological samples for transcriptomic analysis for applications such as sequencing, transcriptome analysis, and infectious pathogen testing.

Obtaining high-quality RNA is the first, and often the most critical, step in performing many RNA-based molecular techniques, such as RT- and qRT-PCR, digital PCR (dPCR), RNA sequencing, array analysis, northern analysis, and cDNA library construction.

There are several common methods for RNA extraction available as kits. The choice of RNA extraction kit or RNA isolation kit may depend on your sample type, throughput required, downstream assay, and what equipment is available in the lab.

RNA extraction methods comparison table

 Organic extractionCrude lysateSilica spin columnMagnetic beads
DescriptionMonophasic solution of phenol and guanidine isothiocyanateLysis buffer containing enzymes and detergentSpin column and reagents for RNA isolation via selective silica bindingMagnetic beads and reagents for RNA isolation via selective bead binding
Sample type(s)Bacteria, blood, cells, plant samples, tissue, viral samples, yeastCells in cultureBacteria, blood, cells, plant and animal tissue, serum, yeastFlexible for many sample types
ProcedureRNA isolation achieved through organic extraction and RNA precipitationIncubation in lysis buffer followed by addition of stop solution; no isolation is performedHomogenized samples loaded onto column; RNA is washed and eluted off column using benchtop centrifuge or vacuum manifoldHomogenized samples mixed with magnetic beads; beads are washed with wash buffers, and RNA is then eluted off the beads
PurityMediumNot applicableHighHighest
ThroughputLowMedium to highMedium to highMedium to high
  • Efficient lysis and isolation
  • Scalable format
  • Great for high-fat and cartilaginous samples
  • Very fast process
  • Addition-only workflow
  • Process 10–100,000 cells with single protocol
  • Highest reproducibility and sensitivity
  • Compatible with reverse transcriptase and qPCR master mix reactions
  • Easy to use
  • Processing of many sample types and volumes
  • Specialized equipment not required
  • High yield and purity
  • Isolates true total RNA, including miRNA
  • Higher efficiency washes from bead movement
  • No column means no risk of clogging
  • Fully scalable to process low and high sample inputs
  • High yield and efficiency
  • Easily automated for high throughput

To learn more about these methods, see Nucleic Acid Extraction

Find the right RNA extraction kit or reagent to support your research

Whatever your sample type, RNA type or downstream application, you can be confident that our portfolio of products can accelerate your research.

Need bulk reagents or a custom configuration for your workflow? Just ask our RNA Custom Services team!

For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

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