We have examined the expression of the transformed phenotype in a series of clonal lines of NIH/3T3 cells transfected with the human c-Ha-rasVal 12 oncogene and the neomycin phosphotransferase gene. Cells from individual transformed foci were cloned and subjected to detailed analyses of the ras sequences. Three clones were found that expressed approximately one, 2-4, or 4-8 copies of the human c-ras oncogene, respectively. A fourth clone had multiple copies of the transfected sequences, and expressed abundant c-Ha-ras RNA. Analysis of the transformed phenotype of various clones indicated that cells expressing low levels of mutant c-Ha-ras had lost some of their extracellular fibronectin network, and were barely altered in their cytoskeleton. In contrast, cells expressing abundant c-Ha-ras had lost both their actin and fibronectin networks and showed an increase in plasminogen activator activity. Cells with amplified c-Ha-rasVal 12 grew better in low serum, formed large colonies in soft agar and showed enhanced activity of ornithine decarboxylase, the rate-controlling enzyme in polyamine biosynthesis. These results show that the dosage level of the mutant oncogene makes a significant contribution to the transformed phenotype of c-Ha-ras oncogene-transformed cells.