Notes from Beethoven’s genome

Wesseldijk, L. W., Henechowicz, T. L., Baker, D. J., Bignardi, G., Karlsson, R., Gordon, R. L., Mosing, M. A., Ullén, F., & Fisher, S. E. (2024). Notes from Beethoven’s genome. Current Biology, 34(6), R233-R234. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2024.01.025.
Rapid advances over the last decade in DNA sequencing and statistical genetics enable us to investigate the genomic makeup of individuals throughout history. In a recent notable study, Begg et al.1 used Ludwig van Beethoven’s hair strands for genome sequencing and explored genetic predispositions for some of his documented medical issues. Given that it was arguably Beethoven’s skills as a musician and composer that made him an iconic figure in Western culture, we here extend the approach and apply it to musicality. We use this as an example to illustrate the broader challenges of individual-level genetic predictions.
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