DNA is damaged on a daily basis, which can lead to heritable mutations and the activation of proto-oncogenes. Therefore, DNA damage and repair are critical risk factors in cancer, aging and disease, and are the underlying bases of most frontline cancer therapies. Much of our current understanding of the mechanisms that maintain DNA integrity has been obtained using antibody-based assays. The oligonucleotide equivalents of antibodies, known as aptamers, have emerged as potential molecular recognition rivals. Aptamers possess several ideal properties including chemical stability, in vitro selection and lack of batch-to-batch variability. These properties have motivated the incorporation of aptamers into a wide variety of analytical, diagnostic, research and therapeutic applications. However, their use in DNA repair studies and DNA damage therapies is surprisingly un-tapped. This review presents an overview of the progress in selecting and applying aptamers for DNA damage and repair research.
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