The applicability of transcriptomics for functional genome analysis rests on the assumption that global information on gene function can be inferred from transcriptional regulation patterns. This study investigated whether Saccharomyces cerevisiae genes that show a consistently higher transcript level under anaerobic than aerobic conditions do indeed contribute to fitness in the absence of oxygen. Tagged deletion mutants were constructed in 27 S. cerevisiae genes that showed a strong and consistent transcriptional upregulation under anaerobic conditions, irrespective of the nature of the growth-limiting nutrient (glucose, ammonia, sulfate or phosphate). Competitive anaerobic chemostat cultivation showed that only five out of the 27 mutants (eug1Delta, izh2Delta, plb2Delta, ylr413wDelta and yor012wDelta) conferred a significant disadvantage relative to a tagged reference strain. The implications of this study are that: (i) transcriptome analysis has a very limited predictive value for the contribution of individual genes to fitness under specific environmental conditions, and (ii) competitive chemostat cultivation of tagged deletion strains offers an efficient approach to select relevant leads for functional analysis studies.