In a groundbreaking study, researchers sequenced Ludwig van Beethoven's genome for the first time, using preserved strands of the legendary composer's hair. Their analysis aimed to honor Beethoven's request, made late in his life, for people to study his various ailments and find a future cure.

The Stumpff Lock, from which Beethoven's whole genome was sequenced, with inscription by former owner Patrick Stirling

Snap Bio: Despite being a musical genius, Beethoven's life was marred by health issues. He began experiencing progressive hearing loss in his 20s, and by 48, he was functionally deaf. In addition, he suffered from gastrointestinal problems throughout his adult life.

  • The researchers couldn't identify a "definitive cause" for Beethoven's deafness or gastrointestinal issues. However, they did uncover genetic risk factors for liver disease and evidence of a hepatitis B infection later in his life.

Looking Ahead: The plan is to make Beethoven's genome publicly available for other researchers, potentially revealing more details about his health and genealogy. Beethoven's hair may have left this world centuries ago, but his DNA could still be music to the ears of researchers!

PS: Here's what Beethoven would like like if he lived today, according to AI.

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