Genetic redundancy: new tricks for old genes

Cell. 2009 Feb 6;136(3):389-92. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.01.027.


Many crucial components of signal transduction, developmental, and metabolic pathways have functionally redundant copies. Further, these redundancies show surprising evolutionary stability over prolonged time scales. We propose that redundancies are not just archeological leftovers of ancient gene duplications, but rather that synergy arising from feedback between redundant copies may serve as an information processing element that facilitates signal transduction and the control of gene expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Duplication*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Signal Transduction