The permanent cell line BHK-21/cl 13 can be transformed by mutagenic carcinogens as the result of the induction of a recessive somatic mutation. Yet when these cells were treated with 5-azacytidine under conditions in which no mutants resistant to either ouabain or 6-thioguanine could be detected, they were transformed efficiently. These transformants were induced, not selected. 6-Azacytidine was ineffective at transforming BHK cells; 2'-deoxy-5-azacytidine was exceptionally effective. When tested by cell fusion, transformants induced by 5-azacytidine fell into the same complementation group as those induced by highly mutagenic carcinogens, but they were phenotypically distinct in that they were unstable during prolonged passage and rarely displayed the temperature-limited phenotypes so common among BHK transformants induced by strongly mutagenic carcinogens. These results raise the possibility that a cell can be induced by either genetic or epigenetic means to transverse the same single step in carcinogenesis.