As alternative hydrophobic adsorbent for DNA adsorption, supermacroporous cryogel disks were synthesized via free radical polymerization. In this study, we have prepared two kinds of cryogel disks: (i) poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate-N-methacryloyl-l-tryptophan) [p(HEMA-MATrp)] cryogel containing specific hydrophobic ligand MATrp; and (ii) monosize p(HEMA-MATrp) particles synthesized via suspension polymerization embedded into p(HEMA) cryogel structure to obtain p(HEMA-MATrp)/p(HEMA) composite cryogel disks. These cryogel disks containing hydrophobic functional group were characterized via swelling studies, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, elemental analysis, surface area measurements and scanning electron microscopy. DNA adsorption onto both p(HEMA-MATrp) cryogel and p(HEMA-MATrp)/p(HEMA) composite cryogels was investigated. Maximum adsorption of DNA on p(HEMA-MATrp) cryogel was found to be 15mg/g polymer. Otherwise, p(HEMA-MATrp)/p(HEMA) composite cryogels significantly increased the DNA adsorption capacity to 38mg/g polymer. Composite cryogels could be used repeatedly without significant loss on adsorption capacity after 10 repetitive adsorption-desorption cycles. Copyright (c) 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.