Cells prepare for S phase during the G1 phase of the cell cycle. Cell biological methods have provided knowledge of cycle kinetics and of substages of G1 that are determined by extracellular signals. Through the use of biochemical and molecular biological techniques to study effects of growth factors, oncogenes, and inhibitors, intracellular events during G1 that lead to DNA synthesis are rapidly being discovered. Many cells in vivo are in a quiescent state (G0), with unduplicated DNA. Cells can be activated to reenter the cycle during G1. Similarly, cells in culture can be shifted between G0 and G1. These switches in and out of G1 are the main determinants of post-embryonic cell proliferation rate and are defectively controlled in cancer cells.