Friday, April 12, 2024

What Really Killed the Famous Composer Beethoven?

 Recent discoveries involving DNA samples from Beethoven, a famous composer in the 19th century, have shown was his cause of death may have actually been. Before any research was conducted it was believed that he had passed from liver failure. Though, a lock of his hair revealed to scientists that he carried several risk factors for liver disease. The locks of hair collected were used to reconstruct Beethoven's genome. This revealed a variant of the gene PNPLA3 which is linked to liver failure. Scientists also discovered hepatitis B in his genome. Hepatitis B can also severely affect the liver. After these findings and having the prior knowledge of Beethoven's drinking habits, it was concluded that liver failure was his cause of death.

    It is insanely impressive that scientists can recreate a genome from someone who lived over 200 years ago. The ability to recreate genome sequences such as the scientists did in this case is a big stepping stone for understanding life, medical research, drug development, and evolutionary studies. It will be interesting to see how researchers use this technology as time progresses and what will come of it.


  1. It's interesting to see that even after 100's of years we can still identify the cause of death for someone like Beethoven! It really shows how far technology has come. If we are able to do this just imagine all the things we learn from this research!

  2. Hi Madison, this read was super shocking! I find it amazing to read about how scientists were able to construct his genome, something so individual, from a lock of hair. I liked what you mentioned in your final paragraph. This definitely is a huge step for science! I am also eager to see whats next!

  3. Incredible! It will be interesting to see how this kind of technology will be used to investigate the deaths of other famous people from hundreds of years ago, especially those who died from unknown causes.