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RNA Extraction: Two Methods - Automated vs Manual

RNA Extraction: Two Methods - Automated vs Manual

RNA extraction is a crucial step in many molecular biology experiments. It allows researchers to isolate and purify RNA from a variety of sample types, including cells, tissues, and bodily fluids. There are two main methods for RNA extraction: manual and automatic. In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of each technique, so you can make an informed decision when choosing the right method for your experiment. Also, I am explaining RNA extraction methods.


What is the difference between Automatic and Manual?

Manual RNA extraction involves a series of steps, such as mixing the sample with a lysis buffer, mixing it with magnetic beads that stick to the RNA, washing the beads, and eluting the RNA, which are done by hand. It requires manual pipetting and washing and is generally time-consuming and labor-intensive.

On the other hand, Automatic RNA extraction uses automated equipment to perform the same steps as manual RNA extraction. The process is carried out by a machine, which reduces the labor and time required for the process. It also increases the reproducibility and consistency of the results. Automatic RNA extraction is a faster and more efficient method compared to manual RNA extraction, but it can be more costly, and it's also less flexible as you are limited by the machine's capabilities.

In short, Automatic RNA extraction is a faster and more efficient method, but it can be more costly, while Manual RNA extraction is a more traditional method, which is more flexible but time-consuming and labor-intensive.


  • Sample Tubes: Tubes that contain the sample you want to extract RNA from.
  • Tip combs: This help protects the magnetic rods from contamination.
  • Five Well Plates: These are used to hold the various reagents and solutions needed for the extraction process.
  • Proteinase K: An enzyme that is used to denature proteins, which helps release the RNA from the sample.
  • Magnetic Beads: These are used to bind to the RNA and help purify it.
  • Lysis Buffer: A solution that is used to break open cells in the sample and release the RNA.
  • Wash 1 (isopropanol-based wash): This is used to clean the beads and remove any remaining impurities.
  • Wash 2 (ethanol-based wash): This is used to further purify the RNA.
  • Elution Buffer (water): This is used to take the RNA off the beads.
  • Pipette: Used to transfer liquids
  • Pipette Tips: Used to transfer liquids


Magnetic plate: A plate that contains magnets, which are used to isolate the magnetic beads with the RNA in a manual extraction process.

In addition, it's important to note that other materials such as ethanol and isopropanol are also used for washing the beads and purifying the RNA, and also the reagent reservoir to keep the reagents.



Steps for Automatic RNA Extraction

RNA extraction is a process to obtain pure RNA from a sample. This process can be automated using a machine. Here are the simplified steps of the process:

Step 1: Prepare the plate for RNA extraction. Load all necessary reagents and solvents into the well plate. Add the lysis buffer and sample to the plate and mix well. Allow the lysis buffer to work for an appropriate amount of time.


Step 2: Use magnetic beads to isolate the RNA from the lysed sample. The magnetic beads should be added to the lysed sample and mixed, then the mixture is placed on a magnetic separator or a magnetic stand to allow the beads to bind to the RNA.


Step 3: Wash the magnetic beads to remove any contaminants or impurities. This can be done with a wash buffer, such as an isopropanol-based solution, and the beads are agitated to ensure thorough washing.


Step 4: Elute the purified RNA from the magnetic beads. This can be done by adding an elution buffer, such as ethanol, to the beads and mixing.

Step 5: Perform a final wash with ethanol to remove any remaining impurities.

Step 6: The RNA is now ready for downstream applications, such as PCR.



Steps for Manual RNA Extraction

This process can also be done manually. Here are the simplified steps of the process:

Step 1: Mix the sample with a chemical called lysis buffer. This will break down the cells and release the RNA.

Step 2: Use tiny beads that stick to the RNA and separate them from other substances. Mix the lysed sample with the beads.

Step 3: Use a tool like a pipette to remove the liquid from the mixture, leaving only the beads with the RNA.

Step 4: Wash the beads to remove any impurities by using a solution like an isopropanol-based solution. Use a pipette to remove the liquid each time.

Step 5: Take the RNA off the beads by using a solution called elution buffer. Use a pipette to remove the liquid containing the RNA.

Step 6: Perform one more wash with ethanol to make sure the RNA is pure.

Step 7: The pure RNA is now ready to use for experiments such as PCR.



For a successful molecular biology experiment, RNA extraction is a crucial step to separate pure RNA from the sample. You have the option of manual or automatic extraction, each with its own strengths. While manual provides more control, automatic is faster and more efficient. The method you choose depends on your specific experiment requirements. To achieve optimal results, it's important to perform RNA extraction with precision.

Looking to get started with RNA extraction? Click here to access the best products on the market.

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