Science
Fact-checked

At AllTheScience, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What Is RNA Concentration?

RNA concentration refers to the amount of RNA present in a given volume of solution, crucial for understanding genetic expression. Accurate measurement ensures the success of molecular biology experiments. It's the cornerstone of research that can unlock the secrets of cellular function. How does this microscopic marvel influence the vast landscape of biotechnology? Join us as we unveil its significance.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) concentration is a measurement of how much of this genetic material is present in a sample. This nucleic acid is one of the important building blocks of life, critical to functioning for organisms from whales to house cats. It may be analyzed in testing for a variety of reasons, including diagnostic purposes, research, and forensic analysis. Before it can be tested, it needs to be carefully processed and checked to confirm the sample is of good integrity and will yield accurate results.

In processing, technicians extract RNA from a sample so they can analyze it. This can involve treatment with enzymes that remove Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) and proteins that may be present in the sample. Careful controls are necessary to limit the chances of contamination and preserve as much RNA as possible. Specialized glassware and laboratory plastics may be used for this process, and technicians also follow a standard lab procedure for consistency.

Through a process called transcription, DNA makes a copy of itself called ribonucleic acid (RNA).
Through a process called transcription, DNA makes a copy of itself called ribonucleic acid (RNA).

The classic approach to measuring RNA concentration involves running a sample through a spectrophotometer, a device that measures light absorption. Readings can provide information about how much RNA is present based on how much light in specific wavelengths is absorbed. This can also indicate whether contaminants are present in a sample, because other materials absorb light in different wavelengths. Thus, the test can perform a dual function by quantifying the RNA and assessing it for contamination.

Measuring RNA concentration often involves the use of a light-measuring device called a spectrophotometer.
Measuring RNA concentration often involves the use of a light-measuring device called a spectrophotometer.

Another option is to add a dye to the sample and expose it to light to see if the dye fluoresces, and how intensely. Dyes can bind tightly to nucleic acids to provide information about their concentrations. One flaw with this method is that RNA concentration values may be off if the sample also contains DNA or other impurities, as the dye may bind to these as well. Technicians may only use this option to determine RNA concentration if they are confident the sample is very pure to avoid obtaining false results.

Extracting RNA can involve treatment with enzymes that remove Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) and proteins that may be present in the sample.
Extracting RNA can involve treatment with enzymes that remove Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) and proteins that may be present in the sample.

If the RNA concentration is too low, the sample may not be usable. There might not be enough to run tests and double check the results, for example. An increased possibility of error may also be a concern, because problems with the sample would be magnified if only a limited amount of RNA is available. The technician might need to purify a new batch or request a fresh sample, if this is an option, to determine if it’s possible to obtain a cleaner sample with a higher RNA concentration.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a AllTheScience researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a AllTheScience researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Through a process called transcription, DNA makes a copy of itself called ribonucleic acid (RNA).
      By: adimas
      Through a process called transcription, DNA makes a copy of itself called ribonucleic acid (RNA).
    • Measuring RNA concentration often involves the use of a light-measuring device called a spectrophotometer.
      By: Jaroon Ittiwannapong
      Measuring RNA concentration often involves the use of a light-measuring device called a spectrophotometer.
    • Extracting RNA can involve treatment with enzymes that remove Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) and proteins that may be present in the sample.
      By: designua
      Extracting RNA can involve treatment with enzymes that remove Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) and proteins that may be present in the sample.
    • A technician may extract RNA from a test sample so they can analyze it.
      By: diego cervo
      A technician may extract RNA from a test sample so they can analyze it.