A polyamide nucleic acid (PNA) was designed by detaching the deoxyribose phosphate backbone of DNA in a computer model and replacing it with an achiral polyamide backbone. On the basis of this model, oligomers consisting of thymine-linked aminoethylglycyl units were prepared. These oligomers recognize their complementary target in double-stranded DNA by strand displacement. The displacement is made possible by the extraordinarily high stability of the PNA-DNA hybrids. The results show that the backbone of DNA can be replaced by a polyamide, with the resulting oligomer retaining base-specific hybridization.