Although parasitic infection by Trichuris trichiura is a very common intestinal helminthic disease worldwide, there is still insufficient information on the genetic characteristics of ancient T. trichiura in different spatiotemporal perspectives. Utilizing coprolite specimens obtained from 15th–18th century mummies dating to the Joseon Dynasty, we analyzed small-subunit ribosomal RNA, internal transcribed spacer 2, and ATP synthase subunit 8 of T. trichiura ancient DNA (aDNA). In BLAST and phylogenetic analyses, the T. trichiura aDNA sequences of this study belong to a separate cluster that is evidently distinct from the other genus Trichuris spp. reported in GenBank. This report characterizes T. trichiura aDNA of pre-20th century East Asia, and in so doing, it also proves the potential of aDNA analysis for differential diagnosis of T. trichiura in cases where ancient parasite eggs are morphologically indeterminate for species identification.
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Vol. 105 • No. 4