RNA-based applications requiring high quality, non-degraded RNA are a foundational element of many research studies. As such, it is paramount that the integrity of experimental RNA is validated prior to cDNA synthesis or other downstream applications. In the absence of expensive equipment such as microfluidic electrophoretic devices, and as an alternative to the costly and time-consuming standard formaldehyde gel, RNA quality can be quickly analyzed by adding small amounts of commercial bleach to TAE buffer-based agarose gels prior to electrophoresis. In the presence of low concentrations of bleach, the secondary structure of RNA is denatured and potential contaminating RNases are destroyed. Because of this, the ‘bleach gel’ is a functional approach that addresses the need for an inexpensive and safe way to evaluate RNA integrity and will improve the ability of researchers to rapidly analyze RNA quality.
Keywords: Agarose, Bleach, Denaturing gel, Electrophoresis, RNA quality