An automatic method for recognizing natively disordered regions from amino acid sequence is described and benchmarked against predictors that were assessed at the latest critical assessment of techniques for protein structure prediction (CASP) experiment. The method attains a Wilcoxon score of 90.0, which represents a statistically significant improvement on the methods evaluated on the same targets at CASP. The classifier, DISOPRED2, was used to estimate the frequency of native disorder in several representative genomes from the three kingdoms of life. Putative, long (>30 residue) disordered segments are found to occur in 2.0% of archaean, 4.2% of eubacterial and 33.0% of eukaryotic proteins. The function of proteins with long predicted regions of disorder was investigated using the gene ontology annotations supplied with the Saccharomyces genome database. The analysis of the yeast proteome suggests that proteins containing disorder are often located in the cell nucleus and are involved in the regulation of transcription and cell signalling. The results also indicate that native disorder is associated with the molecular functions of kinase activity and nucleic acid binding.