Many genes are members of large families that have arisen during evolution through gene duplication events. Our increasing understanding of gene organization at the scale of whole genomes is revealing further evidence for the extensive retention of genes that arise during duplication events of various types. Duplication is thought to be an important means of providing a substrate on which evolution can work. An understanding of gene duplication and its resolution is crucial for revealing mechanisms of genetic redundancy. Here, we consider both the theoretical framework and the experimental evidence to explain the preservation of duplicated genes.