Non-covalent DNA-recognition by synthetic agents is surveyed in this tutorial review, and contrasted with biomolecular DNA-recognition. The principles and forces involved in DNA recognition are similar to those seen elsewhere in the wider field of supramolecular chemistry, although the size, surface dimensions and nature of DNA introduce new possibilities and challenges. Recent discoveries of new binding motifs, and new biological structural and genomic information from bioscience, are affording new opportunities for supramolecular chemistry, where shape, fit and orientation play such an important role.
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