Civil and Environmental Engineering


Document Type


Date of this Version



Published in Trends in Biochemical Sciences, Vol. 44, No. 3 (March 2019), pp 190-213



Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


DNAzymes have been widely explored owing to their excellent catalytic activity in a broad range of applications, notably in sensing and biomedical devices. These newly discovered applications have built high hopes for designing novel catalytic DNAzymes. However, the selection of efficient DNAzymes is a challenging process but one that is of crucial importance. Initially, systemic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX) was a labor-intensive and time-consuming process, but recent advances have accelerated the automated generation of DNAzyme molecules. This review summarizes recent advances in SELEX that improve the affinity and specificity of DNAzymes. The thriving generation of new DNAzymes is expected to open the door to several healthcare applications. Therefore, a significant portion of this review is dedicated to various biological applications of DNAzymes, such as sensing, therapeutics, and nanodevices. In addition, discussion is further extended to the barriers encountered for the real-life application of these DNAzymes to provide a foundation for future research.