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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Genetic Evidence for the Prehistoric Expansion of Enterobius vermicularis Parasites and Their Human Hosts in the Greater American Southwest
by Rollins, Amanda Ann, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2018, 208; 10828433
Abstract (Summary)

The human pinworm, Enterobius vermicularis, is an intestinal parasite that is transmitted through close interpersonal contact. Because this parasite is human-specific, pinworm DNA can be used in population genetics studies as a proxy to track the migration patterns of human hosts. At least three genetic haplogroups of the mitochondrial cox1 gene have been identified in E. vermicularis pinworms extracted from modern fecal samples.

This parasite has also been identified morphologically and genetically in preserved fecal material, or coprolites, from numerous archaeological sites. Analyses of Ancestral Pueblo coprolites indicate that the inhabitants of the prehistoric American Southwest experienced particularly high levels of pinworm infection. The Ancestral Pueblo archaeological tradition represents ethnically distinct groups that shared certain cultural features. Prehistoric architecture, material culture, and skeletal remains, in addition to modern genetics and linguistics data, have been used to explore the level of direct contact between Ancestral Pueblo sites and surrounding areas. A comparison of pinworm genetic haplotypes from coprolites provides an additional means of assessing the migratory histories of the Greater American Southwest.

In this study, genetic fragments of the E. vermicularis mitochondrial cox1 gene were isolated from 14 of 43 Ancestral Pueblo coprolites sampled from Antelope House and Antelope Cave in Arizona, from Salmon Ruin in New Mexico, and from Turkey Pen Ruin in Utah. Attempts to amplify pinworm DNA from La Cueva de los Muertos Chiquitos in Durango, Mexico were unsuccessful. Five coprolites from Antelope House generated sufficient genetic coverage of a 268 nucleotide fragment of the cox1 gene for phylogenetic analyses. Comparison to modern genetic haplogroups indicates the presence of a unique haplotype of pinworm mitochondrial cox1 gene in the prehistoric New World, haplogroup D.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cook, Della C.
Commitee: Hu, Ke, Kaestle, Frederika A., Reinhard, Karl J., Scheiber, Laura L.
School: Indiana University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-B 79/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Genetics, Ancient history, Parasitology
Keywords: Ancestral Pueblo, Ancient DNA, Antelope House, Archaeoparasitiology, Enterobius, Paleoparasitology
Publication Number: 10828433
ISBN: 978-0-438-13313-6
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