DNA aptamers produced with natural or modified natural nucleotides often lack the desired binding affinity and specificity to target proteins. Here we describe a method for selecting DNA aptamers containing the four natural nucleotides and an unnatural nucleotide with the hydrophobic base 7-(2-thienyl)imidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (Ds). We incorporated up to three Ds nucleotides in a random sequence library, which is expected to increase the chemical and structural diversity of the DNA molecules. Selection experiments against two human target proteins, vascular endothelial cell growth factor-165 (VEGF-165) and interferon-γ (IFN-γ), yielded DNA aptamers that bind with KD values of 0.65 pM and 0.038 nM, respectively, affinities that are >100-fold improved over those of aptamers containing only natural bases. These results show that incorporation of unnatural bases can yield aptamers with greatly augmented affinities, suggesting the potential of genetic alphabet expansion as a powerful tool for creating highly functional nucleic acids.