By controlled addition of galactose to synchronized galactose-limited Saccharomyces cerevisiae cultures, the growth rate could be regulated while external conditions were kept constant. By using this method, the G1 phase duration was modulated and expression of cell cycle-regulated genes was investigated. The expression of the cyclin genes CLN1 and CLN2 was always induced just before bud emergence, indicating that this event marks the decision to pass Start. Thus, G1 phase elongation was not due to a slower accumulation of the CLN1 and CLN2 mRNA levels. Only small differences in CLN3 expression levels were observed. The maximal SWI4 expression preceded maximal CLN1 and CLN2 expression under all conditions, as expected for a transcriptional activator. But whereas SWI4 was expressed at about 10 to 20 min, before CLN1 and CLN2 expression at high growth rates, this time increased to about 300 min below a particular consumption rate at which the G1 phase strongly elongated. In the slower-growing cultures, also an increase in SWI6 expression was observed in the G1 phase. The increase in G1 phase duration below a particular consumption rate was accompanied by a strong increase in the reserve carbohydrate levels. These carbohydrates were metabolized again before bud emergence, indicating that below this consumption rate, a transient increase in ATP flux is required for progression through the cell cycle. Since Start occurred at different cell sizes under different growth conditions, it is not just a certain cell size that triggers passage through Start.