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First report of pre-Hispanic Fasciola hepatica from South America revealed by ancient DNA

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 December 2019

María Ornela Beltrame
Affiliation:
Grupo de investigación: Paleoparasitología. Instituto de Investigaciones en Producción, Sanidad y Ambiente (IIPROSAM), Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, UNMdP-CONICET, Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Cesar Pruzzo
Affiliation:
Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP), La Plata, Argentina
Rodrigo Sanabria
Affiliation:
Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP), La Plata, Argentina Instituto Tecnológico Chascomús (INTECH) – CONICET-Universidad Nacional de San Martín (UNSAM), Chascomús, Argentina
Alberto Pérez
Affiliation:
Departamento de Antropología, Universidad Católica de Temuco, Campus San Francisco, Temuco, Región de La Araucanía, Chile
Matías Sebastián Mora
Affiliation:
Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC), CONICET, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata (UNMDP), Mar del Plata, Argentina
Corresponding

Abstract

It is generally assumed that the digenean human liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica, gained entry to South America during the 15th century upon arrival of Europeans and their livestock. Nonetheless in Patagonia, Argentina, digenean eggs similar to F. hepatica have been observed in deer coprolites dating back to 2300 years B.P. The main objective of our present study was to identify and characterize these eggs using an ancient DNA (aDNA) study. Eggs were isolated and used for aDNA extraction, amplification and sequencing of partial regions from the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 and the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide dehydrogenase subunit 1 mitochondrial genes. Also, phylogenetic trees were constructed using Bayesian and maximum likelihood. Our results confirm the presence of F. hepatica in South America from at least 2300 years B.P. This is the first report and the first aDNA study of this trematode in South America prior to the arrival of the European cattle in the 15th century. The present work contributes to the study of phylogenetic and palaeobiogeographical aspects of F. hepatica and its settlement across America.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019

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