Thinking about genetic redundancy

Trends Genet. 1993 Nov;9(11):395-9. doi: 10.1016/0168-9525(93)90140-d.


Partial functional redundancy among genes is frequently observed in a wide range of organisms and processes, but the selective value of such redundancy is not immediately apparent. Any fully redundant function should be evolutionarily unstable: unless selection acts to maintain the redundancy it will tend to be lost by mutational drift. I discuss four possible mechanisms by which selection might act to maintain genetic redundancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Genes, Helminth
  • Genes, Insect
  • Multigene Family*
  • Primates / genetics
  • Selection, Genetic*
  • Yeasts / genetics