Lymphocytes recognize antigens with highly variable heterodimeric surface receptors. Although four distinct antigen receptors could in principle be produced by any lymphocyte, only one functional combination of receptor chains has thus far been found expressed on their surface. Examination of human gamma delta T cells revealed a population that violated this rule by expressing on their surface two distinct functional gamma delta T cell receptors (TCRs) that used different TCR gamma gene alleles. Thus, current models for T cell clonal selection may need modification, and a possible escape mechanism for autoreactive TCRs is suggested.