A new gene transfer protocol has been developed that introduces up to 800 copies of an expression vector into Chinese hamster ovary cells in a single step by electroporation. The DNA typically integrates in tandem repeats so that the restriction endonuclease site used to linearize the input DNA remains intact. This is likely due to ligation of vector DNA via cohesive ends prior to integration. This high-copy-number procedure is far more rapid than the conventional stepwise gene amplification method used to generate stable eukaryotic protein production cell lines. By employing the expression vector pJODtPA, in which the selectable marker dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) and the human tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) casettes are separated by a spacer and an RNA polymerase II terminator, cell lines secreting as much as 24 pg/cell.day tPA were isolated following electroporation and a single methotrexate selection. Gene copies and expression levels are stable over long periods of growth. A single round of gene amplification was performed following the high-copy-number procedure to yield a clone having a tPA production level of 45 pg/cell.day.