The expression of 1008 open reading frames (ORFs) from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been examined under eight different physiological conditions, using classical northern analysis. These northern data have been compared with publicly available data from a microarray analysis of the diauxic transition in S.cerevisiae. The results demonstrate the importance of comparing biologically equivalent situations and of the standardization of data normalization procedures. We have also used our northern data to identify co-regulated gene clusters and define the putative target sites of transcriptional activators responsible for their control. Clusters containing genes of known function identify target sites of known activators. In contrast, clusters comprised solely of genes of unknown function usually define novel putative target sites. Finally, we have examined possible global controls on gene expression. It was discovered that ORFs that are highly expressed following a nutritional upshift tend to employ favoured codons, whereas those overexpressed in starvation conditions do not. These results are interpreted in terms of a model in which competition between mRNA molecules for translational capacity selects for codons translated by abundant tRNAs.