The genome of all organisms is constantly attacked by a variety of environmental and endogenous mutagens that cause cell death, apoptosis, senescence, genetic diseases and cancer. To mitigate these deleterious endpoints of genotoxic reactions, living organisms have evolved one or more mechanisms for repairing every type of naturally occurring DNA lesion. For example, double-strand breaks are rapidly religated by non-homologous end-joining. Homologous recombination is used for the high-fidelity repair of interstrand crosslinks, double-strand breaks and other DNA injuries that disrupt the replication fork. Some genotoxic lesions inflicted by alkylating agents can be repaired by direct reversal of DNA damage. The base excision repair pathway takes advantage of multiple DNA glycosylases to remove modified or incorrect bases. Finally, the nucleotide excision repair machinery provides a versatile strategy to monitor DNA quality and eliminate all forms of helix-distorting DNA lesions, including a wide diversity of carcinogen adducts. The efficiency of DNA repair responses is enhanced by their coupling to transcription and coordination with the cell cycle circuit.