The recognition of cellular nucleic acids by synthetic oligonucleotides is a versatile strategy for regulating biological processes. The vast majority of published studies have focused on antisense oligonucleotides that target mRNA, but it is also possible to design antigene oligonucleotides that are complementary to chromosomal DNA. Antigene oligomers could be used to inhibit the expression of any gene or analyze promoter structure and the mechanisms governing gene regulation. Other potential applications of antigene oligomers include activation of expression of chosen genes or the introduction of mutations to correct genetic disease. Peptide nucleic acid (PNA) is a nonionic DNA/RNA mimic that possesses outstanding potential for recognition of duplex DNA. Here we describe properties of PNAs and the challenges for their development as robust antigene agents.