The availability of complete genome sequences now permits the development of tools for functional biology on a proteomic scale. Several experimental approaches or in silico algorithms aim at clustering proteins into networks with biological significance. Among those, the yeast two-hybrid system is the technology of choice to detect protein-protein interactions. Recently, optimized versions were applied at a genomic scale, leading to databases on the web. However, as with any other 'genetic' assay, yeast two-hybrid assays are prone to false positives and false negatives. Here we discuss these various technologies, their general limitations and the potential advances they make possible, especially when in combination with other functional genomics or bioinformatics analyses.