Was Beethoven really deaf? – third

In 1802, Ludwig van Beethoven asked his brothers to ask their physician, JA Schmidt, to describe his disease – progressive hearing loss – to the world. After his death, “As far as possible, the world will be reconciled with me at least after my death”.

Now, more than two centuries later, a team of researchers has published a report in the journal modern biology who partially fulfilled his wish By analyzing the DNA, which they extracted and pooled from strands of her hair.

“Our main goal is to reveal Beethoven’s health problems, including progressive hearing loss, Starting around 20, Eventually he developed functional deafness in 1818. “Johannes Krauss of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

“We were unable to find a definitive cause for Beethoven’s deafness or gastrointestinal problems.Krause said in a statement, although they can confirm that he does have the condition. “However, We discovered important genetic risk factors for many liver diseases. We also found evidence of HBV infection up to several months before the composer’s last illness. These may have contributed to his death. “

As is often the case when people analyze DNA, the researchers found another surprise. Beethoven’s Y chromosome doesn’t match any of five modern relatives with the same surnameAccording to genealogical records, he and Beethoven have a common patrilineal ancestor.This finding shows The extramarital “events” of Beethoven’s father generations.

“This discovery shows that Hendrik van Beethoven was conceived in Kampenhout, Belgium, around 1572, while Ludwig van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven was conceived in Bonn, Germany, seven generations later in 1770, suggesting an additional pair of paternity in his paternal line.” In Cambridge University, UK

The idea for the paper was developed by Berg and study co-author William Meredith nearly a decade ago. Their motivation was that Beethoven requested an autopsy to describe his condition and make it public. In the new study, the team, which also included Toomas Kivisild of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, drew on recent advances in ancient DNA analysis; these improvements enabled whole-genome sequencing of a small amount of historic hair.

first, Analysis of Beethoven’s hair of independent origin, of which only five were confirmed to be from the same European.They thought the five were “Almost certainly genuine” and used them to sequence Beethoven’s genome at 24-fold genome coverage.

The lock on which the analysis is performed.

Medical biographers have previously suggested that, Beethoven had many apparent genetic health conditions.But the researchers in this study They couldn’t find an explanation for hearing impairment or gastrointestinal problems in the genome. They discovered that he had a genetic predisposition to liver disease.

Further study of other DNA in the sample showed that he also had hepatitis B infection at least a few months before his death. “Combined with genetic predisposition and his widely accepted drinking behavior, this provides a plausible explanation for Beethoven’s severe liver disease and ultimately his death,” they wrote.

researchers pointed out Analytical results that previously indicated Beethoven’s lead poisoning were based on samples that were not Beethoven at all; Instead, it came from a woman. Future research tests for lead, opioids and mercury must be based on validated samples, they said.

Scientists in the process of analysis.

DNA Extracted From Beethoven’s Hair are genetically more similar to people living in North Rhine-Westphalia todayThis is consistent with Beethoven’s well-known German ancestry, Berg said.

Future studies of Beethoven samples collected over time May help tell when you have hepatitis B infection. At the same time, further research on its close relatives will help clarify its biological relationship to the modern descendants of the Beethoven family.

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