An oligodeoxyribonucleotide containing 8-hydroxyadenine (OH8Ade) was chemically synthesized and single- and double-stranded c-Ha-ras gene fragments with OH8Ade at the second position of codon 61 were prepared. The single-stranded ras gene fragment was used as a template for in vitro DNA synthesis with the Klenow fragment of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I, Taq DNA polymerase, rat DNA polymerase beta and mouse DNA polymerase alpha. The former two enzymes exclusively incorporated dTMP opposite OH8Ade. The DNA polymerases alpha and beta misinserted dGMP, and dAMP and dGMP, respectively. The c-Ha-ras gene was constructed using the double-stranded ras gene fragment containing OH8Ade and was transfected into NIH 3T3 cells. The gene with OH8Ade induced focus formation, indicating that OH8Ade elicited point mutations in cells. When c-Ha-ras genes present in transformed cells were analyzed, an A-->G transition and an A-->C transversion were detected. These results indicate that OH8Ade induced misincorporation in in vitro DNA synthesis and mutations in mammalian cells.