What is the key technical challenge in isolating high quality RNA from cell or tissue samples?
FAQ ID -2656

Ribonucleases are the principal threat to any RNA isolation procedure. In addition, copurification of inhibitory contaminants is a major problem when isolating RNA from certain tissue sources. To minimize the threat, gloves should be worn at all times, and special care must be taken to use RNase-free reagents and labware.

In addition, tissue/cell lysis steps are typically carried out with lysis buffers containing guanidine isothiocyanate, a potent protein denaturant. It is very important to use a sufficient amount of lysis buffer during RNA isolation. We recommend using at least 10X volume of lysis buffer to tissue/cell pellet.

In general, for fast purification of high-quality RNA we recommend QIAGEN’s RNeasy Kits. It is more challenging to isolate high-quality RNA from tissue samples than from cultured cells, especially those tissues containing high levels of RNase, or difficult-to-homogenize tissues. Examples of such tissues include liver, heart, skin, and conjunctive tissues. Many tissue samples also contain difficult-to-remove contaminants (such as polysaccharides, collagen, fats, lipids or fibrous components) that may interfere with subsequent enzymatic reactions if not removed from the RNA preparation. For purification of high-quality RNA from difficult tissues we recommend QIAGEN’s RNeasy Plus Universal Kit.