Yeast has essentially two lifespans: a replicative lifespan (the number of daughters produced by each dividing mother cell) and a chronological lifespan (the capacity of stationary (G0) cultures to maintain viability over time). There is a tendency now to label every investigation that addresses these lifespans as ageing research. It is, though, analyses of the longest lifespans that will be most informative about the determinants of longevity and yield results most relevant to ageing in more complex systems. This review addresses these issues and describes the ongoing studies that are now attempting to address ageing in yeast cells of maximal replicative or chronological longevity. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.