Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Beethoven's Report Card

This entertaining article discussed if the famous musical composer from the late 16th century, had genetic predisposition to be a gifted musician, and if we have the means to confidently make such a claim. This sounds like a drunken bet someone would make at a bar, but whoever said scientist can't get out and have a good time?
    It turns out Beethoven's genome was already sequenced in 2023 by researchers using a lock of his hair (I'd love to hear the story of how someone got their hands on his hair!). So these researchers working together from different international universities were able to analyze the sequence and run a polygenic test on 'beat synchronization'; basically testing if Beethoven could hold a rhythym (a 1 and a 2 and a). Unfortunately, Beethoven's scores were nothing to write to the queen about. 
   So what's the value in this? Well obviously Beethoven was and is and exceptional musician, so this actually points us to the reliability of the test. Polygenic tests are used when multiple genes are thought to influence a disease, trait, or behaivor. We compile data from a population for these tests, and then can use them to predict the likeyhood or intensity someone will have said disease, trait, behaivor. It's a lot to get into, but two important things to know: is music ability influenced by our genes: partially, Yes. Can we rely on a tests to say whether someone's unborn child will be musically gifted: No, that would ruin the suprise.

Posted by Michael Breslin
Source: https://news.vumc.org/2024/03/26/beethovens-genes-reveal-low-predisposition-for-beat-synchronization/#:~:text=Ludwig%20van%20Beethoven%2C%20one%20of,Aesthetics%20in%20Frankfurt%20am%20Main%2C

No comments:

Post a Comment