Beethoven has gene sequencing, revealing the cause of musicians’ death and hidden family history


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Video editor Cheng Qianqian (04:04)

In March 1827, Ludwigan Van Beethoven’s life was dying.He was lying on the bed, abdominal pain and jaundice that made him miserable.Sad friends and acquaintances came to visit him.Someone asked for help: Can you cut him a strand of hair as a commemorative?

The mourning parade continued after Beethoven’s death.The doctor even performed a terrible craniotomy on him, checked the folds of Beethoven’s brain and took out his ear bones to understand why the respected composer lost his hearing.

Within three days after Beethoven, one of his hair on his head was not left.

Since then, many people have been committed to understanding Beethoven’s disease and death.

Now, a genetic study for Beethoven’s hair has overturned people’s long -term views on his health.The study provided a understanding of his weak disease and even death. At the same time, he also proposed a new problem about the origin of his descent and implied a unknown family secret.

Portrait of Beethoven, Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820.Image source: Bonbeido’s former residence

The first genetic research on Beethoven

On March 22, the scientific journal "Contemporary Biology" published a paper.The paper shows that a team of international scientists uses the hair of Beethoven’s five rays of genes for sequencing.The study was led by the University of Cambridge, and the main author was Tristan Begg, a researcher at the Department of Archeology at Cambridge.

The DNA of these five strands of hair (from the last seven years of Beethoven’s life) matched the bloodline of Beethoven.By combining genetic data with the history of inspection, the researchers concluded that these five strands of hair "almost true."

The main purpose of the study is to clarify the health of Beethoven. The famous ones including gradual hearing loss, from his 20s, eventually led him to become functional deafness in 1818.The team also investigated the possible genetic cause of chronic deafness in Beethoven, that is, gastrointestinal discomfort and severe liver disease, which eventually caused him to die in 1827.

Since his years in Bonn, Beethoven has been plagued by gastrointestinal problems. This problem continues to exist and deteriorate in Vienna.In the summer of 1821, Beethoven suffered from the first time of jaundice at least twice, which was a symptom of liver disease.For a long time, cirrhosis has been considered the most likely cause of his death when he was 56 years old.

Page of Beethoven’s Dialogue (1824) Source: Berlin National Library

The genetic clues of Beethoven’s health status

The scientific team cannot find the exact cause of Beethoven’s deafness or gastrointestinal problems.However, they did discover many important genetic risk factors of liver disease, and they also discovered evidence of the composer infected with hepatitis B virus infection a few months before the event.

But how is Beethoven’s infection?Hepatitis B is usually spread through sexual behavior and common needle and childbirth.

William Mredith was a member of the team participating in the scientific analysis of Beethoven’s body in the early days, and launched this study with Tristan Begg.He said Beethoven did not use intravenous injection drugs.He was unmarried for life, although he had a romantic interest in several women.He also wrote a letter -although he had never sent it -"immortal love" to him, his identity has always been a curious theme of the academic world.The details of his sexual life are still unknown.

Arthur Kocher, a geneticist at the Institute of Anthropology, Germany and one of the new research, provides another possible explanation for his infection: this one: this oneThe composer may infected hepatitis B during childbirth.He said that this virus usually spreads in this way, and infected babies may eventually suffer from chronic infection for a lifetime.About a quarter of people, chronic infections will eventually lead to liver cirrhosis or liver cancer."It may eventually cause patients to die from liver failure," he said.

Regarding Beethoven’s drinking status, Tristein Berg said: "We can speculate from the ‘conversation book’ from Beethoven in the last decade of his life that his drinking volume is very regular, although it is difficult to estimate himThe amount of drinking. "" Although most of his contemporary people claim that his drinking volume is moderate in accordance with the Vienna standard in the early 19th century, these sources are not completely consistent, which may still be equivalent to being known today.The amount of alcohol that is harmful to the liver. "" If his drinking volume is enough for a long time, the interaction with his genetic risk factors can provide a possible explanation for his liver cirrhosis. "

The research team also shows that Beethoven’s hepatitis B infection may lead to severe liver disease with composers and exacerbate drinking and genetic risks.However, scientists warn that the nature and time of this infection cannot be determined, which will greatly affect its relationship with Beethoven’s disease.And also warned that his real drinking level was still unknown.

Beethoven’s hearing loss is related to various potential causes, including diseases with different degrees of genetic factors.The survey of identified hair samples did not reveal the simple genetic origin of hearing loss.

Axel Schmidt of the Institute of Humanity Hospital of Bonn University Hospital said: "Although it is impossible to determine the clear genetic foundation of Beethoven’s hearing loss, we warn that this situation cannot be strictly ruled out. Explain the individualThe necessary reference data necessary for the genome is steadily improved. Therefore, Beethoven’s genome may reveal the clues of his future hearing loss. "

It turns out that it is impossible to find a genetic explanation of Betfen’s gastrointestinal discomfort, but researchers believe that according to genome data, the possibility of cervical diarrhea and lactose intolerance is extremely small.It is also found that Beethoven’s risk of intestinal syndrome (IBS) has a certain degree of genetic protection, which is usually suspected to be an inducement, which makes this explanation unlikely.

"We can’t be sure what to kill Beethoven, but now we can at least confirm that there are significant genetic risks and hepatitis B virus infections," Johannes Claus (Johannes Krause said, "We can also eliminate several other unlikely genetic reasons."

"In view of the known medical history, this is likely to be a combination of these three factors, including his synergistic role in drinking, but future research must figure out the degree of participation of each factor." Trelistan Berger added supplementationroad.

Bevin’s Bayor’s hair, which is collected by Kevin Brown, is the best preserved sample. Source: Kevin Brown

Appraisal Beethoven’s hair

The team conducted a total of eight hair samples obtained from public and private collections from the United Kingdom, continental Europe and the United States.

In the process, the researchers found that at least two strands of hair did not come from Beethoven. One of the famous hair was considered to be the 15 -year -old musician Ferdinand Hiller at the time.He cut it on his head, and he visited him four times before Beethoven’s death.And this strand of hair is proved to come from a German Jewish woman.

It is said to be Beethoven’s hair cut by the musician Hiller, which was later confirmed to come from a woman’s picture source: William Mredith

The previous analysis of "Hiller’s hair" supported Beethoven’s lead poisoning, which may be a factor that caused his health problems, including his hearing loss.

"Since we know that the hair cut by Hiller now from a woman instead of Beethoven now," Since we now know that the hair cut by Hiller is not suitable for Beethoven based on the analysis of this strand of hair.The research of agents and mercury must be based on verified samples. "

The discovery of Russell Martin, the author of "Beethoven’s Hair", was shocked."Wow, who would think of it!" He said.He added that he wanted to find the descendants of Sophie Lion, the wife of Paul Hiller’s wife, to see if this hair was her.He wanted to know if she was poisoned.

The five samples of the identification and from the same person are from the Beethoven Research Center of San Jose, California, Kevin Brown, a private collector, a member of the American Beethoven Association, and the former residence of Bon’s Beethoven.

In April 1826, Beethoven gave one of the strands of hair (now in Brown’s collection) to the pianist Anton Halm and told him "that’s my hair."

The entire genome of Beethoven was sequensed from another sample "Stumpff Lock" in Brown, and the sample became the best preserved sample.The research team found that the DNA extracted from Beethoven’s "Stumpff Lock" hair is close to people living in the State of North Rhine-Westfaland today, which is consistent with the German blood known as Beethoven.Essence

Researchers’ laboratory study of Beethoven’s hair Source: Susanna Sabin

The mystery of Beethoven’s family

The team analyzed five men’s genes living in Belgium.These people were found to have the same Y chromosomes.Combined with family genealogy research, this means that these people have a common ancestor in male descent, namely Art Van Beethoven (1535-1609).However, the Y chromosomes found in the hair sample of Lutwigan Bether are very different.

The research team concluded that this may be the result of at least once in the Parent’s Parents -the result of the child born of the "alien father and son incident" -children born of off -wedding relationships."By combining DNA data and file files, MAARTEN LARMUSEAU, a geneticist at the Universitydifference between."

The study showed that this incident occurred in 1572 Hendrik Van Beethoven (Kampenhout) in Belgium and Ludwigan Van Beethoven Seventh Generation in 1770In the straightforward patriline between Bonn’s conception in Germany.

Because there was no baptism record, some people questioned Beethoven’s father’s identity earlier in the early years, but the researchers could not determine which generation of the incident.

Malten Ramso suspected that the father of Ludwig Van Beethoven was born of his grandmother and his grandfather.Beethoven’s father did not have a baptism record, and as everyone knows, his grandmother is a alcoholic.Beethoven’s grandfather and father have a bad relationship.Ramso said these factors may be signs of extramarital affairs.

Maredis said that there was also contradiction between Beethoven and his father.Although his grandfather was the famous palace musician at the time, he died when Beethoven was very young, but Beethoven respected him and kept his portrait until the day he died.

Maredis added that when there were rumors that Beethoven was actually the illegitimate child of Frederick William II and even the Great of Frederick, Beethoven never refuted.

Researchers have worked hard to discuss their results with those who are directly influenced by them.On the evening of March 15th, Malten Ramso met with five surnamed Fan Beethoven in Belgium and provided DNA for research.

As soon as he came up, he brought bad news: they had no blood relationship with Ludwig Van Beethoven.This shocked them.

"They don’t know how to react," Ramso said, "They are remembered by their special surnames every day. Every day they say their names, people will ask, ‘You and Ludwig Fan ·Is there a relationship between Beethoven? ‘"

Ramso said that this relationship "is part of their identity." Now it does not exist.

For Maredi, the project was a great adventure."The entire complicated story shocked me," he said."I have been participating in it since 1994. One discovery will only lead to another unexpected discovery."

"We want to disclose Beethoven’s genome by disclosing to researchers, and may add more verified hair samples to the initial time sequence.","

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