Paleoparasitological studies using microscopy showed that Ascaris
and Trichuris trichiura
are the human intestinal parasites most found in archaeological sites. However, in pre-Columbian South American archaeological sites, Ascaris
is rare. In this work we standardized a molecular methodology for Ascaris
diagnosis directly from ancient DNA retrieved from coprolites. Using cythochrome b gene (142 bp) target, ancient DNA sequences were retrieved from South American samples, negative by microscopy. Moreover, the methodology applied was sensitive enough to detect ancient DNA extracted from 30 Ascaris
eggs from an European coprolite. These results revealed a new scenery for the paleodistribution of Ascaris
in South America.