Biological systems are resistant to genetic changes; a property known as mutational robustness, the origin of which remains an open question. In recent years, researchers have explored emergent properties of biological systems and mechanisms of genetic redundancy to reveal how mutational robustness emerges and persists. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the origin of mutational robustness, including molecular chaperones and gene duplication. The latter has received much attention, but its role in robustness remains controversial. Here, I examine recent findings linking genetic redundancy through gene duplication and mutational robustness. Experimental evolution and genome resequencing have made it possible to test the role of gene duplication in tolerating mutations at both the coding and regulatory levels. This evidence as well as previous findings on regulatory reprogramming of duplicates support the role of gene duplication in the origin of robustness.
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