DNA-free high-quality RNA extraction from 39 difficult-to-extract plant species (representing seasonal tissues and tissue types) of 32 families, and its validation for downstream molecular applications

Shina Sasi, Saranya Krishnan, Preshobha Kodackattumannil, Aysha Al Shamisi, Maitha Aldarmaki, Geetha Lekshmi, Martin Kottackal, Khaled M.A. Amiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: High-purity RNA serves as the basic requirement for downstream molecular analysis of plant species, especially the differential expression of genes to various biotic and abiotic stimuli. But, the extraction of high-quality RNA is usually difficult from plants rich in polysaccharides and polyphenols, and their presence usually interferes with the downstream applications. The aim of the study is to optimize the extraction of high-quality RNA from diverse plant species/tissues useful for downstream molecular applications. Results: Extraction of RNA using commercially available RNA extraction kits and routine hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) methods did not yield good quality DNA-free RNA from Prosopis cineraria, Conocarpus erectus, and Phoenix dactylifera. A reliable protocol for the extraction of high-quality RNA from mature leaves of these difficult-to-extract trees was optimized after screening nine different methods. The DNase I-, and proteinase K treatment-free modified method, consisting of extraction with CTAB method followed by TRIzol, yielded high-quality DNA-free RNA with an A260/A280 and A260/A230 ratios > 2.0. Extraction of RNA from Conocarpus, the most difficult one, was successful by avoiding the heat incubation of ground tissue in a buffer at 65 oC. Pre-warming of the buffer for 5–10 min was sufficient to extract good-quality RNA. RNA integrity number of the extracted RNA samples ranged between 7 and 9.1, and the gel electrophoresis displayed intact bands of 28S and 18S RNA. A cDNA library constructed from the RNA of P. cineraria was used for the downstream applications. Real-time qPCR analysis using the cDNA from P. cineraria RNA confirmed the quality. The extraction of good quality RNA from samples of the desert-growing P. cineraria (> 20-years-old) collected in alternate months of the year 2021 (January to December covering winter, spring, autumn, and the very dry and hot summer) proved the efficacy of the protocol. The protocol’s broad applicability was further validated by extracting good-quality RNA from 36 difficult-to-extract plant species, including tissues such as roots, flowers, floral organs, fruits, and seeds. Conclusions: The modified DNase I and Proteinase K treatment-free protocol enables to extract DNA-free, high-quality, intact RNA from a total of 39 difficult-to-extract plant species belonging to 32 angiosperm families is useful to extract good-quality RNA from dicots and monocots irrespective of tissue types and growing seasons.

Original languageEnglish
Article number84
JournalPlant Methods
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • CTAB
  • Conocarpus erectus
  • Date palm
  • Prosopis cineraria
  • RNA extraction
  • TRIzol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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