Sensitive and accurate DNA metabarcoding of parasitic helminth mock communities using the mitochondrial rRNA genes.
Chan AHE., Saralamba N., Saralamba S., Ruangsittichai J., Chaisiri K., Limpanont Y., Charoennitiwat V., Thaenkham U.
Next-generation sequencing technologies have accelerated the pace of helminth DNA metabarcoding research, enabling species detection in bulk community samples. However, finding suitable genetic markers with robust species-level resolution and primers targeting a broad species range among parasitic helminths are some of the challenges faced. This study aimed to demonstrate the potential use of the mitochondrial 12S and 16S rRNA genes for parasitic helminth (nematodes, trematodes, cestodes) DNA metabarcoding. To demonstrate the robustness of the 12S and 16S rRNA genes for DNA metabarcoding, we determined the proportion of species successfully recovered using mock helminth communities without environment matrix and mock helminth communities artificially spiked with environmental matrices. The environmental matrices are human fecal material, garden soil, tissue, and pond water. Our results revealed the robustness of the mitochondrial rRNA genes, through the high sensitivity of the 12S rRNA gene, and the effectiveness of the 12S and 16S primers targeting platyhelminths. With the mitochondrial rRNA genes, a broad range of parasitc helminths were successfully detected to the species level. The potential of the mitochondrial rRNA genes for helminth DNA metabarcoding was demonstrated, providing a valuable gateway for future helminth DNA metabarcoding applications like helminth detection and biodiversity studies.