Modularity is known to be one of the most relevant characteristics of biological systems and appears to be present at multiple scales. Given its adaptive potential, it is often assumed to be the target of selective pressures. Under such interpretation, selection would be actively favouring the formation of modular structures, which would specialize in different functions. Here we show that, within the context of cellular networks, no such selection pressure is needed to obtain modularity. Instead, the intrinsic dynamics of network growth by duplication and diversification is able to generate it for free and explain the statistical features exhibited by small subgraphs. The implications for the evolution and evolvability of both biological and technological systems are discussed.