In a systematic approach to the study of Saccharomyces cerevisiae genes of unknown function, 150 deletion mutants were constructed (1 double, 149 single mutants) and phenotypically analysed. Twenty percent of all genes examined were essential. The viable deletion mutants were subjected to 20 different test systems, ranging from high throughput to highly specific test systems. Phenotypes were obtained for two-thirds of the mutants tested. During the course of this investigation, mutants for 26 of the genes were described by others. For 18 of these the reported data were in accordance with our results. Surprisingly, for seven genes, additional, unexpected phenotypes were found in our tests. This suggests that the type of analysis presented here provides a more complete description of gene function.