Kinetic analysis of guanine alkylation by aflatoxin B(1) exo-8,9-epoxide, the reactive form of the hepatocarcinogen aflatoxin B(1), shows the reaction to be >2000 times more efficient in DNA than in aqueous solution, that is, with free 2'-deoxyguanosine. Thermodynamic analysis reveals AFB(1) exo-8,9-epoxide intercalation as the predominant source of the observed DNA catalytic effect. However, the known exo > endo epoxide stereospecificity of the DNA alkylation is observed even with free deoxyguanosine (ratio >20:1 determined by LC-MS and NMR measurements), as predicted by theoretical calculations [ Bren , U. , et al. ( 2007 ) Chem. Res. Toxciol. 20 , 1134 - 1140 ].