There is an explosive interest in 1D nanostructured materials for biological sensors. Among these nanometer-scale materials, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) offer the advantages of possible biocompatibility, size compatibility, and sensitivity towards minute electrical perturbations. In particular, because of these inherent qualities, changes in SWNT conductivity have been explored in order to study the interaction of biomolecules with SWNTs. This Review discusses these interactions, with a focus on carbon nanotube field-effect transistors (NTFETs). Recent examples of applications of NTFET devices for detection of proteins, antibody–antigen assays, DNA hybridization, and enzymatic reactions involving glucose are summarized. Examples of complementary techniques, such as microscopy and spectroscopy, are covered as well.