MadSci Network: Molecular Biology

Re: How long will DNA/RNA remain stable in a frozen tissue or in solution?

Date: Wed Dec 5 08:18:31 2001
Posted By: Daniel Lafontaine, Post-doc/Fellow, Biochemistry, University of Dundee
Area of science: Molecular Biology
ID: 1006978962.Mb

Dear Nathaniel,

Following your request, I did a search through the Pubmed search engine at the NCBI (http:// I have found a paper that might interest you since you seem to be after some litterature references. Here it is:

Grotzer MA, Patti R, Geoerger B, Eggert A, Chou TT, and Phillips
PC. (2000) "Biological stability of RNA isolated from RNAlater-treated brain
tumor and neuroblastoma xenografts."
Med Pediatr Oncol 34(6):438-42.
So, they basically use RNALater. This is a product from the Ambion company ( This product is designed so that you can leave the tissue of interest in it for a long time, depending if you store it at room temperature, +4 or -20 Celsius. There is other trick but this one seems to be the best yet. If for any reason you want to see what else you can use, try the following keywords at the NCBI "RNA[tw] & tissue[tw] & stability[tw] & storage[tw]."

I should say that for any background information on RNA storage (which is easier to degrade than DNA because of common RNases), you should go to the Ambion website. They have a lot of general knowledge information about RNA storage. For instance, you can learn that the best way to keep a prep of RNA (almost indefinitely) is to keep it as a salt & ethanol suspension at -20C.

Finally, about DNA storage, I didn't find any "real" study on it (which is not to say that there isn't). However, the consensus on that topic in molecular biology seems to be that you can readily store DNA at 4 degrees Celsius for a long time without fearing any degradation. As a buffer, I would suggest a TE solution (10 mM Tris-HCl, 1mM EDTA, pH 7.5).

Hope this help,


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