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December 9, 1916

Spirochaeta Pallida or Treponema Pallidum?

JAMA. 1916;LXVII(24):1776. doi:10.1001/jama.1916.02590240070027

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To the Editor:  —Your editorial comment on this question (The Journal, Nov. 25, 1916, p. 1607) is in error. Schaudinn originally placed the Treponema pallidum in the genus Spirochaeta. It was only after he discovered that it did not belong to that genus that he named a new genus, Treponema Both your editorial writer and Dr. Pusey should familiarize themselves with the rules of zoological nomenclature as laid down by the International Committee. Dr. Charles Stiles, Washington, D. C., is the secretary of that committee. It is not a matter of sentiment that makes us prefer the term Treponema pallidum, but a matter of scientific nomenclature. If you discovered a new organism and named it by a term used previously by zoologists to designate an entirely different organism, the name would not stand in zoological nomenclature, and either you or some successor would have a right to give it an

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