Gene and genome duplications are commonly regarded as being of major evolutionary significance. But how often does gene duplication occur? And, once duplicated, what are the fates of duplicated genes? How do they contribute to evolution? In a recent article, Lynch and Conery analyze divergence between duplicate genes from six eukaryotic genomes. They estimate the rate of gene duplication, the rate of gene loss after duplication and the strength of selection experienced by duplicate genes. They conclude that although the rate of gene duplications is high, so is the rate of gene loss, and they argue that gene duplications could be a major factor in speciation.