Noonan syndrome (MIM 163950) is characterized by short stature, facial dysmorphism and cardiac defects. Heterozygous mutations in PTPN11, which encodes SHP-2, cause approximately 50% of cases of Noonan syndrome. The SHP-2 phosphatase relays signals from activated receptor complexes to downstream effectors, including Ras. We discovered de novo germline KRAS mutations that introduce V14I, T58I or D153V amino acid substitutions in five individuals with Noonan syndrome and a P34R alteration in a individual with cardio-facio-cutaneous syndrome (MIM 115150), which has overlapping features with Noonan syndrome. Recombinant V14I and T58I K-Ras proteins show defective intrinsic GTP hydrolysis and impaired responsiveness to GTPase activating proteins, render primary hematopoietic progenitors hypersensitive to growth factors and deregulate signal transduction in a cell lineage-specific manner. These studies establish germline KRAS mutations as a cause of human disease and infer that the constellation of developmental abnormalities seen in Noonan syndrome spectrum is, in large part, due to hyperactive Ras.