To evaluate the relative contributions of DNA polymerase alpha and DNA polymerase delta in chromosome replication during the S phase of the cell cycle, we have used the permeable cell system for replication as a functional assay. We carried out the analysis of DNA polymerases both in quiescent cells stimulated to proliferate and progress through the cell cycle (monolayers) and in actively growing cells separated into progressive stages of the cell cycle by centrifugal elutriation (suspension cultures). DNA polymerase alpha was measured by using the inhibitor butylphenyl dGTP at low concentrations. Using several inhibitors such as aphidicolin, ddTTP and butylphenyl dGTP, we found that DNA polymerase alpha and delta activity were coordinately increased during S phase and declined at the end. However, DNA polymerase delta was performing about 80% of the total replication and DNA polymerase alpha performed only 20%. This high ratio of DNA polymerase delta to DNA polymerase alpha replication activity was maintained throughout S phase in two entirely different experimental approaches.