Metagonimiasis is foodborne intestinal parasitism occurring by the definitive hosts' ingestion of raw or undercooked fish, mostly commonly sweetfish. Most Metagonimus infection is caused by Metagonimus yokogawai but also rarely by Metagonimus takahashii as well as Metagonimus miyatai. Despite recent molecular work on Metagonimus spp., there are still insufficient data to reveal the genetic characteristics of ancient M. yokogawai in a wide geo-historical scope. In this study, we were successful in the analysis of M. yokogawai ancient DNA (aDNA) using coprolite samples retrieved from 16th- to 17th-century Korean mummies. In BLAST and phylogenetic analyses, M. yokogawai 28S rDNA of Korean mummies were clustered along with the 28S rDNA taxa of M. takahashii and M. miyatai in GenBank. Conversely, the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) of M. yokogawai aDNA from Korean mummies was distinctly clustered apart from M. takahashii and M. miyatai sequences. This study is the first report of its kind to identify M. yokogawai aDNA retrieved from the archaeological specimens and confirms the usefulness of COI in molecular diagnosis of M. yokogawai. Considering the rarity of reports on the genetics of genus Metagonimus spp., our study will be fundamental for the future study of M. yokogawai paleogenetics.

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