Polymers that are terminally attached to solid supports, so called brushes, form the basis for a wide variety of different applications in colloidal and biophysical sciences. For grafted charged chains a conducting surface allows to manipulate the brush structure by applying electric fields across the brush. The dynamics of oligomeric DNA molecules under the action of repulsive and attractive surface electric fields is studied by Brownian dynamics simulations including hydrodynamic effects and compared to experimental results. The difference in flexibility between double and single stranded DNA molecules leads to a change in the switching dynamics when repeatedly reversing the surface charge. This effect allows to detect hybridization of surface anchored DNA. Similar kinetic changes occur when other molecules bind terminally to DNA, opening the possibility to use end grafted polymers for general biosensing applications. We in particular discuss the influence of the adsorbate size and change on the switching dynamics. (c) 2006 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.