The Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene CDC6, whose protein product is required for DNA replication, is transcribed only in late G1 and S phases. We have discovered a critical reason why CDC6 expression is regulated in this fashion. Constitutive CDC6 transcription greatly delayed the initiation of M phase without effecting the G1-S transition or growth rate. This occurred in both fission and budding yeasts. The CDC6-induced M phase delay was dependent on the wee1/mik1 mitotic inhibitor kinases and was greatly accentuated in strains defective for the cdc25/MIH1 mitotic inducer phosphatases, indicating that CDC6 indirectly inhibits activation of the p34cdc2/CDC28 M phase kinase. Thus CDC6 appears to have an important and perhaps unique dual role in S phase, it is first required for the initiation of DNA replication and then actively participates in the suppression of nuclear division.