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Original Article

How sexually dimorphic are we? Review and synthesis

Melanie Blackless

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

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Anthony Charuvastra

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

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Amanda Derryck

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

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Anne Fausto‐Sterling

Corresponding Author

E-mail address:Anne_Fausto‐Sterling@brown.edu

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912
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Karl Lauzanne

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

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Ellen Lee

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

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Abstract

The belief that Homo sapiens is absolutely dimorphic with the respect to sex chromosome composition, gonadal structure, hormone levels, and the structure of the internal genital duct systems and external genitalia, derives from the platonic ideal that for each sex there is a single, universally correct developmental pathway and outcome. We surveyed the medical literature from 1955 to the present for studies of the frequency of deviation from the ideal male or female. We conclude that this frequency may be as high as 2% of live births. The frequency of individuals receiving “corrective” genital surgery, however, probably runs between 1 and 2 per 1,000 live births (0.1–0.2%). Am. J. Hum. Biol. 12:151–166, 2000. © 2000 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Number of times cited: 99

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