Genomic palaeoparasitology traced the occurrence of Taenia asiatica in ancient Iran (Sassanid Empire, 2th cent. CE–6th cent. CE)

Askari, Z. and Ruehli, F. and Bouwman, A. and Shariati, V. and Naddaf, S.R. and Otranto, D. and Mas-Coma, S. and Rezaeian, M. and Boenke, N. and Stöllner, T. and Aali, A. and Mobedi, I. and Mowlavi, G.

Volume: 12 Pages:
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-10690-2
Published: 2022

Palaeoparasitology investigates parasitological infections in animals and humans of past distance by examining biological remains. Palaeofaeces (or coprolites) are biological remains that provide valuable information on the disease, diet, and population movements in ancient times. Today, advances in detecting ancient DNA have cast light on dark corners that microscopy could never reach. The archaeological site of the Chehrabad salt mine of Achaemenid (550–330 BC) and Sassanid (third–seventh century AD) provides remains of various biotic and abiotic samples, including animal coprolites, for multidisciplinary studies. In the present work, we investigated coprolites for helminth eggs and larvae by microscopy and traced their biological agents’ DNA by Next Generation Sequencing. Our results revealed various helminths, including Taenia asiatica, the species introduced in the 1990s. Implementing advanced modern molecular techniques like NGS gives a paramount view of pathogenic agents in space and time. © 2022, The Author(s).

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