Scientists Use Beethoven’s DNA To Uncover Clues About His Health And Death

Thanks to preserved hair clippings, researchers were unable to uncover a lot of unknown information about the great Ludwig van Beethoven.

There are many mysteries that can now be solved thanks to DNA. Thanks to scientific advancements, some progress was made in the case of Ludwig van Beethoven’s deafness.

While the exact cause of his death and his deafness can’t be pinpointed, scientists were able to make some fascinating discoveries regarding his health.

Photo: Flickr/Royal Opera House Covent Garden

Beethoven died almost two hundred years ago, but recently, scientists were able to extract DNA from strands of his hair.

While they were unable to produce a reason for his deafness, they did produce some interesting facts, such as his genetic predisposition to liver disease, as well as a hepatitis B infection. Both of these were most likely damaging to his liver during the later portion of his life.

Photo: Flickr/Marco Verch Professional Photographer License: CC BY 2.0

A study on the topic was published in the journal Current Biology.

It suggests these factors, combined with his massive alcohol consumption, contributed to his liver failure and were most likely responsible for his passing.

Photo: Flickr/Boston Public Library License: CC BY 2.0

Needless to say, this discovery was pretty revolutionary and groundbreaking. But it was only possible thanks to the die hard Beethoven Stans who were responsible for saving locks of his hair following his death.

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