Contradictory experimental findings and theoretical interpretations have spurred intense debate over the electrical properties of the DNA double helix. In the present review article the various factors responsible for these divergences are discussed. The enlightenment of this issue could improve long range chemistry of oxidative DNA damage and repair processes, monitoring protein-DNA interactions and possible applications in nano-electronic circuit technology. The update experimental situation concerning measurements of the electrical conductivity is given. The character of the carriers responsible for the electrical conductivity measured in DNA is investigated. A theoretical model for the temperature dependence of the electrical conductivity of DNA is presented, based on microscopic models and percolation theoretical arguments. The theoretical results, excluding or including correlation effects, are applied to recent experimental findings for DNA, considering it as a one dimensional molecular wire. The results indicate that correlation effects are probably responsible for large hopping distances in DNA samples. Other theoretical conductivity models proposed for the interpretation of the responsible transport mechanism are also reviewed. Some of the most known and pioneering works on DNAs nano-applications, future developments and perspectives along with current technological limitations and patents are presented and discussed.
Keywords: DNA, one-dimensional hopping electrical conductivity, small polarons, DNA applications, DNA walking devices, DNA sensors
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