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May 2, 1966


JAMA. 1966;196(5):447. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100180119040

A communication by Green, Stoller, and MacAndrew in the May issue of the American Journal of Diseases of Children1 raises again in medicine an issue for which an interpretation of the common law was handed down by the great English jurist, Lord Coke, in the 16th century. He noted that an hermaphrodite should "succeed according to the kind of sex which doth prevail." In Coke's time, the prevailing sex could be determined by either examination or autopsy. By the end of the 19th century, exploratory surgery had become feasible, as a diagnostic routine. The microscope could reveal gonadal histology and was made the great arbiter of true hermaphroditism vs male and female pseudohermaphroditism of Klebs. Neugebauer epitomized the moral tone of his times at the end of the last century. With warnings about mistakes of sex assignment, as in the possible appearance of a wolf in the sheepfold at

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