It’s possible these different proteins could be part of what’s behind the distinct cell types in the body. A 2014 paper implies that certain alternative forms of proteins may play a role in autism. If a gene makes multiple proteins, biologists will need to deduce which protein is responsible for the problem. Previous work suggests that some of these proteins exist only in small numbers in the wild.
The team might also choose to look deeper at a small handful of genes, getting a better picture of what their multiplicity of proteins is doing and observe how important they actually are within the cell.
Theoretically, taking into account all the ways that a recipe provided by a gene could be interpreted – all the chances to substitute salt for sugar, say, or all the times when baking soda could replace baking powder – there could be up to 50 different proteins per gene.
Only some of these proteins behave differently from one another.