This article gives an overview of recent research on the mechanical properties and spatial deformations of the DNA molecule. Globally the molecule behaves like a uniform elastic rod, and its twisting and writhing govern its compaction and packaging within a cell. Meanwhile high mechanical stresses can induce structural transitions of DNA giving, for example, a phase diagram in the space of the applied tension and torque. Locally, the mechanical properties vary according to the local sequence organization. These variations play a vital role in the biological functioning of the molecule.