RNA reactions being pipetted into multiple 8-strip PCR tubes

A diverse range of RNA extraction methods exist, which can be divided into four general categories: organic extraction methods, spin basket formats, magnetic particle methods, and direct lysis methods. The method for RNA extraction to use depends on the type of RNA being researched and the downstream application(s).

RNA types

Types of RNA used for research include total RNA, mRNA, sequence-specific RNA, microRNA, and viral RNA. Researchers requiring testing of more than RNA from samples can opt to use RNA/DNA or RNA/protein kits.

What are the different types of RNA?

There are several types of RNA that play distinct roles within the cell. mRNA carries the genetic information from DNA to the ribosomes where it is translated into proteins. Transfer RNA (tRNA) helps in the translation process by bringing amino acids to the ribosomes. Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) is a major component of ribosomes, the cellular machinery responsible for protein synthesis. There are small nuclear RNA (snRNA) and small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) involved in various RNA processing and modification events.

Learn more about RNA sequencing methods

RNA extraction by RNA type

RNA extraction kits can further get categorized based on the type of RNA extraction method it utilizes. Types of RNA extraction methods include sequence-specific RNA purification, miRNA and small RNA isolation, viral RNA extraction, and total nucleic acid/protein purification.

Sequence-specific RNA extraction

Sequence-specific RNA extraction is a method used to selectively isolate target segments of RNA molecules. Sequence-specific RNA include low-abundance cDNA from libraries, mutated sequences, infectious agents, and microsatellites. Target a specific RNA sequence and isolate only those RNA molecules directly from crude lysates or other biological fluids using magnetic bead technology. Dynabeads Streptavidin magnetic beads can work for numerous applications, including protein purification, nucleic acid purification, protein interaction studies, immunoprecipitation, immunoassays, phage display, biopanning, drug screening, and cell isolation.

Dynabeads Streptavidin binds to highly specific biotinylated antibodies or ligands.

  • Compatible with mass spectrometry (MS)
  • Low non-specific binding
  • For samples high in soluble IgGs
  • Recombinant Ab lacking the Fc region

Sequence-specific RNA extraction kit selection guide

FeatureFour beads in one kit, identify best for your applicationBest solution for viscous samplesHigh surface area for maximum enrichment
Dynabeads StreptavidinTrial kitM-270MyOne C1
Bead size1 µm x 2, 2.8 µm x 22.8 µm1 µm
Biotinylated Ig (µg/mg beads)up to 20up to 20up to 20
Binding capacity (free biotin)650–2,500 pmoles/mg beads650–1,350 pmoles/mg beads2,500 pmoles/mg beads
Pack size4 x 1 mL2 or 10 mL2 or 10 mL
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miRNA and small RNA isolation

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) help modulate gene expression. Along with several other classes of small noncoding RNAs (e.g., snRNA, snoRNA, and piRNA), they have tremendous impact on a variety of biological processes.

While most traditional RNA isolation methods are not very efficient at recovering these smaller RNAs, several kits developed by our RNA experts offer quantitative recovery of small RNAs from a variety of sample types.

Which microRNA and small RNA isolation kit is right for you?

Feature30 min isolation from most samplesRecover all RNAs as well as proteinsHigh-throughput isolation of total RNA enriched for small RNAsComplete kit, sample-to-qPCR from cells
KitmirVana miRNA Isolation Kit (with or without phenol)mirVana Paris RNA and Native Protein Purification KitMagMAX mirVana Total RNA Isolation KitTaqMan MicroRNA Cells-to-CT Kit
Prep time20 minutes30 minutes<1 hour10 minutes
Sample typesMost sample typesMost sample typesSerum/Plasma, whole blood, fresh/frozen tissue, cells, urineCells
Isolation methodOrganic extraction and silica columnOrganic extraction and silica columnMagnetic beadsChemical lysis
Reverse transcription reagents includedNoNoNoYes (TaqMan MicroRNA Reverse Transcription Kit)
qPCR master mix includedNoNoNoYes (TaqMan)
Kit size40 preps40 preps96 preps100 reactions
Cat. No.Order nowOrder nowOrder nowOrder now

Viral RNA extraction

The extraction of viral RNA differs from cultured cells or tissue samples as it focuses specifically on isolating RNA from the viral particles rather than the host cells. This requires additional steps to separate and release the viral particles from the sample matrix. Additionally, the viral RNA extraction process may involve more stringent measures to help prevent contamination and enable the purity of the viral RNA for downstream analysis.

Viral RNA extraction kit selection guide

ProductFormatPrep timeDownstream applications
RT-qPCRNorthern blot
Dynabeads SILANE Viral NA KitMagnetic beads, automation compatible~1 hr 
MagMAX Viral RNA Isolation KitMagnetic beads45 min
MagMAX-96 AI⁄ND Viral RNA Isolation KitMagnetic beads, 96-well processing, automation compatible1 hr
MagMAX-96 Viral RNA Isolation KitMagnetic beads, 96-well processing, automation compatible45 min
PureLink Pro 96 Viral RNA⁄DNA Purification KitSilica filter, 96-well processing, automation compatible30 min
PureLink Viral RNA⁄DNA Mini KitSilica filter45 min

Total nucleic acid/protein extraction

Research sometimes requires testing of more than just RNA from each sample. For example, researchers may want to compare the effects of genetic variations on gene expression, or to evaluate both protein and cognate mRNA levels. To help serve this need, some purification products are designed to extract both RNA and DNA, or both RNA and protein from samples. Total nucleic acid extraction kits with these capabilities allow users to get more out of their samples while employing one kit to streamline the process.

ProductMagMAX Total Nucleic Acid Isolation KitmirVana PARIS KitPARIS KitRecoverAll Total Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit for FFPE
IsolatesRNA, DNATotal RNA, transcriptome RNA, siRNA, protein (native), snRNA, microRNATotal RNA, protein (native)
*This kit also permits separation of nuclear and cytoplasmic fractions
Genomic DNA, total RNA, microRNA
Prep time1 hr30 min20 min45 min
Kit size100 preps40 preps50 preps40 preps
  • Protocol Videos—Videos to help you isolate nucleic acids using a variety of techniques.
  • DNA & RNA Selection Guide—Find the right purification products.
  • Videos—View our library of DNA & RNA purification and analysis videos.
  • Application Notes—Explore our application notes from scientists sharing data for isolation products

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

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