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The purpose of this study was to evaluate DNA degradation upon thermal heating using dielectric relaxation and direct current (DC) conductivity methods. Herring sperm DNA, human growth hormone (HgH) plasmid DNA, and secreted alkaline phosphatase (SEAP) plasmid DNA were used as the examples. DNA was heated at 80°C for 1 hour. The dielectric relaxation spectra as a function of the applied field frequency were measured for HgH DNA at 0.5 hours and at 1 hour. The frequency range covered was from 10 kHz to 100 kHz. The DC conductivity measurements were made for all 3 kinds of DNA at 4 time points: 0 hours, 0.5 hours, 0.75 hours, and 1 hour. At each time point the DC conductivity was measured for each sample as a function of concentration via water dilution. The results show that the dielectric relaxation method is less sensitive in characterizing heat-driven DNA degradation. Conversely, DC conductivity is very sensitive. The semiquantitative dependence of the conductivity upon heating suggests that DNA degradation involves more than plasmid DNA nicking. Double strand and single strand breaks may also occur. In addition, herring sperm DNA, HgH DNA, and SEAP DNA, though similar in their DC conductivity functional forms upon dilution, exhibit significant differences in their responses to sustained heating.