We report the construction and analysis of 4,836 heterozygous diploid deletion mutants covering 98.4% of the fission yeast genome. This resource provides a powerful tool for biotechnological and eukaryotic cell biology research. Comprehensive gene dispensability comparisons with budding yeast, the first time such studies have been possible between two eukaryotes, revealed that 83% of single copy orthologues in the two yeasts had conserved dispensability. Gene dispensability differed for certain pathways between the two yeasts, including mitochondrial translation and cell cycle checkpoint control. We show that fission yeast has more essential genes than budding yeast and that essential genes are more likely than non-essential genes to be single copy and to contain introns. Growth fitness analyses determined sets of haploinsufficient and haploproficient genes for fission yeast, and comparisons with budding yeast identified specific ribosomal proteins and RNA polymerase subunits, which may act more generally to regulate eukaryotic cell growth.