By Burak Bir
LONDON (AA) - Beethoven’s genome shows the German composer and pianist suffered from Hepatitis B before his death, according to a newly published study.
An international team of scientists came together as part of research, led by the University of Cambridge, to uncover important details about the classical maestro's health and cause of death.
This is the first time that Ludwig van Beethoven's genome has been sequenced by an international team of scientists using five genetically matching locks of his hair.
The study, which was published in Current Biology on Wednesday, revealed that DNA from five locks of hair – all dating from the last seven years of Beethoven’s life – originate from a single individual matching the composer’s documented ancestry.
"Although we could not identify a genetic explanation for Beethoven’s hearing disorder or gastrointestinal problems, we found that Beethoven had a genetic predisposition for liver disease," scientists said.
Beethoven had a hepatitis B infection during at least the months before his death, the research said.
"Together with the genetic predisposition and his broadly accepted alcohol consumption, these present plausible explanations for Beethoven’s severe liver disease, which culminated in his death," according to scientists.