RNA integrity is a critical factor in obtaining meaningful gene expression data. Current methodologies rely on maintaining samples in cold environments during collection, transport, processing, and storage procedures, which are also extremely time-sensitive. Several RNA storage products are commercially available to help prevent degradation during the handling and storage steps; however, samples must be kept cold for optimal protection. We have evaluated a novel RNA storage medium based on anhydrobiosis for stabilizing and protecting samples from degradation at room temperature that are intended for use in microarray analysis. Samples were stored dry at room temperature for various time periods to assess any degradation or loss of activity as compared with frozen control samples. Recovered samples were used directly for analysis without further purification and exhibited no interference or inhibition in downstream applications. Comparison of gene expression profiles indicate no significant differences between freezer-stored control samples and those kept at room temperature protected in the RNA storage medium. The quality of recovered RNA was confirmed using spectrophotometry and Bioanalyzer analysis and was identical to control samples. The ability to stabilize RNA samples at ambient temperatures for extended time periods will have tremendous use, particularly for sample shipment to core facilities.
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