We used high-density oligonucleotide microarrays to analyse the genomes and meiotic expression patterns of two yeast strains, SK1 and W303, that display distinct kinetics and efficiencies of sporulation. Hybridization of genomic DNA to arrays revealed numerous gene deletions and polymorphisms in both backgrounds. The expression analysis yielded approximately 1,600 meiotically regulated genes in each strain, with a core set of approximately 60% displaying similar patterns in both strains. Most of these (95%) are MATa/MATalpha-dependent and are not similarly expressed in near-isogenic meiosis-deficient controls. The transcript profiles correlate with the distribution of defined meiotic promoter elements and with the time of known gene function.