An electrochemical hybridization biosensor based on peptide nucleic acid (PNA) probes is presented. PNA probes were attached covalently through a competition of free amines on the guanine bases and also at the 5' end of the probe, using N-(3-dimethylamino)propyl)-N'-ethylcarbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC) and N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) onto a carboxylate terminated alkanethiol self-assembled monolayer (SAM) preformed on a gold electrode (AuE). The covalently immobilized probe could selectively hybridize with the target DNA to form a hybrid on the surface despite thebases being attached to the SAM. The changes in the peak currents of methylene blue (3,7-bis(dimethylamino)phenothiazin-5-ium chloride, MB), an electroactive label, were observed upon hybridization of probe with the target. Effective discrimination against point mutation was also obtained. Performance characteristics of the sensor are described, along with future prospects. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.