True hermaphroditism , clinically known as ovotesticular disorder of sex development ,  is a medical term for an intersex condition in which an individual is born with ovarian and testicular tissue. More commonly one or both gonads is an ovotestis containing both types of tissue. Although similar in some ways to mixed gonadal dysgenesis , the conditions can be distinguished histologically. External genitalia are often ambiguous, the degree depending mainly on the amount of testosterone produced by the testicular tissue between 8 and 16 weeks of gestation. There are extremely rare cases of fertility in "truly hermaphroditic" humans.
Androdioecious Caenorhabditis have a high frequency of self-compatible hermaphrodites and a low frequency of males. The effects of mutations on male fitness are of interest for two reasons. First, when males are rare, selection on male-specific mutations is less efficient than in hermaphrodites. Second, males may present a larger mutational target than hermaphrodites because of the different ways in which fitness accrues in the two sexes. We report the first estimates of male-specific mutational effects in an androdioecious organism. Estimates of mutational variance V M for male mating success and competitive fitness are not significantly different from zero, whereas V M for hermaphrodite competitive fitness is similar to that of non-competitive fitness. Two independent estimates of the average selection coefficient against mutations affecting hermaphrodite competitive fitness agree to within two-fold, 0. Several species of nematodes in the genus Caenorhabditis, among them the well-known C. Dioecy is ancestral in the genus and most species in the genus are dioecious, although androdioecy has evolved independently at least three times Kiontke et al.
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This text is protected by copyright and may be linked to without seeking permission. This term comes to us from the Greeks; they composed it of the name of a god and a goddess, in order to express in one word, according to custom, the mix or the conjunction of Mercury and Venus, whom they believed to have presided over the birth of this extraordinary being. But whether the Greeks drew this prejudice from the principles of Astrology or from hermetic philosophy, they cleverly imagined that the hermaphrodite was the offspring of Mercury and of Venus. An honorable place is due to the child of a god and a goddess, and this is why legend continues to honor Greek illusions. The nymph Salmacis having fallen desperately in love with a young hermaphrodite , and not being able to awaken him, prayed to the gods to make their two bodies into one; Salmacis got her wish, but the gods left traces of both sexes on the new being. Nevertheless, this prodigal of nature, who united the two sexes in the same being, was not favorably welcomed by all, if we believe the account of Alexander ab Alexandro, who says that the people who bore the sexes of both man and woman, or to use a single word, the hermaphrodites , were regarded by the Athenians and the Romans as monsters, and thrown into the sea at Athens and at Rome into the Tiber. But are there true hermaphrodites? One could raise this question in the times of ignorance; one should no longer propose it during the enlightened centuries. If nature wanders sometimes in the production of man, it does not go as far as metamorphoses, confusions of substances, and perfect assemblages of two sexes. Nature never permanently confuses these true signs, nor its true marks; nature ultimately shows the characteristics that distinguish sex; and if from time to time these are hidden in infancy, they are definitively revealed in puberty.