Analyses of the growth of a plane strain crack subject to remote mode I cyclic loading under small scale yielding are carried out using discrete dislocation dynamics. Plastic deformation is modelled through the motion of edge dislocations in an elastic solid with the lattice resistance to dislocation motion, dislocation nucleation, dislocation interaction with obstacles and dislocation annihilation being incorporated through a set of constitutive rules. An irreversible relation is specified between the opening traction and the displacement jump across a cohesive surface ahead of the initial crack tip in order to simulate cyclic loading in an oxidizing environment. Calculations are carried out with different material parameters so that values of yield strength, cohesive strength and elastic moduli varying by factors of three to four are considered. The fatigue crack growth predictions are found to be insensitive to the yield strength of the material despite the number of dislocations and the plastic zone size varying by approximately an order of magnitude. The fatigue threshold scales with the fracture toughness of the purely elastic solid, with the experimentally observed linear scaling with Young's modulus an outcome when the cohesive strength scales with Young's modulus. (C) 2003 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.