This paper presents an electronic system for a fast DNA label-less detection. The sensitivity of the capacitive sensor in use is improved by depositing an insulating self-assembled monolayer (SAM) over the golden electrodes. The capacitance shift due to the hybridization effect is monitored by means of a charge-sensitive amplifier and digitalized by means of a comparator and a counter. The read-out solution demonstrates the ability to identify a 0.01% variation on the capacitive value of the sensor. Results from measurements with the optimized sensor show the reliability of the electronics. The investigated solution is suitable for monolithic systems or for a micro-fabricated array of sensors. An example of the integrated front-end is described and performances and noise evaluation are reported here. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.