The interaction of an alkylating agent, 4,4'-dihydroxy chalcone (DHC) with calf thymus double stranded DNA (dsDNA) and calf thymus single stranded DNA (ssDNA) was studied electrochemically based on the oxidation signals of guanine and adenine by using differential pulse voltammetry (DPV) at carbon paste electrode (CPE). As a result of the alkylation of DHC between the base pairs in dsDNA, the voltammetric signal of guanine and adenine greatly decreased. After the interaction of DHC with ssDNA, a higher decrease in the oxidation signals of guanine and adenine was observed under the same conditions. The partition coefficients of DHC at dsDNA and ssDNA modified CPEs were calculated. The interactions of DHC with synthetic polynucleotides, such as polyguanylic acid and polyadenylic acid were also observed. In addition, the detection limit and the reproducibility were determined by using DPV. The interaction of DHC with dsDNA in solution-phase was also investigated and the results were compared with the ones obtained by surface immobilized dsDNA. The application of electrochemical DNA biosensor for monitoring the DNA-alkylating agent interactions was explored. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.