Latest Update

A Hairy Tale after Examining Beethoven’s DNA and His Life’s Crescendo


Published on: March 24, 2023,

Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. Still today he is considered one of the most admired composers in the history. In 1802 Ludwig van Beethoven asked his brothers to request a doctor for his progressive hearing loss. He had told upon his death so that “as far as possible at least the world will be reconciled to me after my death.” After two centuries later a team of researchers has fulfilled his wish by analyzing DNA they lifted and pieced together from the lock of his hair.


“The primary goal was to light on shed on Beethoven’s health problems. Beethoven had hearing lost beginning in his mid to late 20s and he finally became deaf by 1818, “said Johannes Krause from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. The definite cause for Beethoven’s deafness was not found but the number of significant genetic factors for liver disease was discovered. He had an infection with hepatitis B which led to his demise.


Another surprise when people analyzed DNA was Beethoven’s Y chromosome did not match that any of the five modern day relatives. The idea for the work was conceived by Begg and study co-author Willism Meredith almost a decade ago. Biographers head earlier suggested that Beethoven had many heritable health conditions. But the exact cause for Beethoven’s hearing disorder was not found.


The DNA extracted from Beethoven;s hair was found to be similar to that of people living in present day North Rhine. With more studies there will be clarification to his biological relationship to modern decedents of Beethoven family.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *