The recent availability of both robust transcriptome and genome resources for coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) has led to unique discoveries for coelacanth immunity such as the lack of IgM, a central component of adaptive immunity. This study was designed to more precisely address the origins and evolution of gene families involved in the initial recognition and response to microbial pathogens, which effect innate immunity. Several multigene families involved in innate immunity are addressed, including: Toll-like receptors (TLRs), retinoic acid inducible gene 1 (RIG1)-like receptors (RLRs), the nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat containing proteins (NLRs), diverse immunoglobulin domain-containing proteins (DICP) and modular domain immune-type receptors (MDIRs). Our analyses also include the tripartite motif-containing proteins (TRIM), which are involved in pathogen recognition as well as the positive regulation of antiviral immunity. Finally, this study addressed some of the downstream effectors of the antimicrobial response including IL-1 family members, type I and II interferons (IFN) and IFN-stimulated effectors (ISGs). Collectively, the genes and gene families in coelacanth that effect innate immune functions share characteristics both in content, structure and arrangement with those found in tetrapods but not in teleosts. The findings support the sister group relationship of coelacanth fish with tetrapods. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.