We have found that 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene-syn-diol epoxide (syn- DMBADE)-modified DNA fragments are sensitive to UvrABC incision. The incisions occur mainly seven bases 5' and four bases 3' of a syn-DMBADE- modified adenine or guanine residue. The kinetics of UvrABC incision at different sequences in a DNA fragment are the same, and the extent of UvrABC incision is proportional to the syn-DMBADE concentration. On the basis of these results, we have concluded that UvrABC incision on syn-DMBADE-DNA adducts is independent of DNA sequence and is quantitative. Using the UvrABC incision method, we have analyzed the syn-DMBADE-DNA binding spectrum in several defined DNA fragments, including the first two exons of the mouse H- ras gene. We have found that both guanine and adenine residues in codons 12, 13, and 61 of the H-ras gene are strong syn-DMBADE binding sites. These results suggest that the initial binding of DMBADE may greatly contribute to the frequency of H-ras mutations. Results from dinucleotide binding analysis indicate that the 5'-nearest neighbor displays a greater effect on syn- DMBADE-DNA binding than the 3'-nearest neighbor.