Mutation frequencies vary significantly along nucleotide sequences such that mutations often concentrate at certain positions called hotspots. Mutation hotspots in DNA reflect intrinsic properties of the mutation process, such as sequence specificity, that manifests itself at the level of interaction between mutagens, DNA, and the action of the repair and replication machineries. The nucleotide sequence context of mutational hotspots is a fingerprint of interactions between DNA and repair/replication/modification enzymes, and the analysis of hotspot context provides evidence of such interactions. The hotspots might also reflect structural and functional features of the respective DNA sequences and provide information about natural selection. We discuss analysis of 8-oxoguanine- induced mutations in pro- and eukaryotic genes, polymorphic positions in the human mitochondrial DNA and mutations in the HIV-1 retrovirus. Comparative analysis of 8- oxoguanine-induced mutations and spontaneous mutation spectra suggested that a substantial fraction of spontaneous A*T->C*T mutations is caused by 8-oxoGTP in nucleotide pools. In the case of human mitochondrial DNA, significant differences between molecular mechanisms of mutations in hypervariable segments and coding part of DNA were detected. Analysis of mutations in the HIV-1 retrovirus suggested a complex interplay between molecular mechanisms of mutagenesis and natural selection.