Systematic experimental approaches have led to construction of comprehensive genetic and protein–protein interaction networks for the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Genetic interactions capture functional relationships between genes using phenotypic readouts, while protein–protein interactions identify physical connections between gene products. These complementary, and largely non-overlapping, networks provide a global view of the functional architecture of a cell, revealing general organizing principles, many of which appear to be evolutionarily conserved. Here, we focus on insights derived from the integration of large-scale genetic and protein–protein interaction networks, highlighting principles that apply to both unicellular and more complex systems, including human cells. Network integration reveals fundamental connections involving key functional modules of eukaryotic cells, defining a core network of cellular function, which could be elaborated to explore cell-type specificity in metazoans.