Allergens are embedded into the protein universe as members of large families and superfamilies of related proteins which is a direct consequence of their shared evolution. The classification of allergens by protein families offers a valuable frame of reference that allows the design of experiments to study cross-reactivity and allergenic potency of proteins. Information on protein family membership also complements the current official IUIS allergen nomenclature. All presently known allergens belong to one of 140 (1.4%) of the 10,340 protein families currently described by version 23.0 of the Pfam database. This is indicative of a strong bias among allergens towards certain protein architectures that are able to induce an IgE response in an atopic immune system. However, even small variations in the structure of a protein alter its immunological characteristics. Various isoforms of the major birch pollen allergen Bet v 1 were shown to possess highly variant immunogenic and allergenic properties. Ber e 1 and SFA8, two 2S albumins, were revealed to display differential capacities to polarise an immune response. Such data will be exploited in the future for the design of allergy vaccines.