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Understanding ‘destiny and identity’: China embraces genetic testing revolution

| | October 4, 2018
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Image credit: 23Mofang
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

[T]ech-savvy and college-educated young professionals are driving growing demand for genetic testing in China, 23Mofang’s CEO, Zhou Kun, told STAT. As living standards rise, people are increasingly prioritizing their personal health and livelihood. Health care spending increased more than fourfold in the last decade.

Much of Chinese consumers’ interest in genetic testing though, is rooted in a strong belief that genetics can explain their identity — not only their risk of disease or ancestral origins, but also their personality, their likes and dislikes, and their future. The rhetoric compelling consumers to sequence their genomes sounds like astrology, but with the veneer of science.

The 23Mofang website appeals directly to the Chinese customer’s desire to understand their destiny and identity. “Who am I?” the bold letters at the top of the homepage read.

Related article:  CRISPR gene edited soybeans suited for hotter climates offer 'enormous' crop yield boost

“I wanted to be able to more objectively understand my own body through numbers and data,” said Samantha Wang, 29, who works in finance in Wuhan, in central China. “And I found that the information was definitely helpful. For example, the results said that I metabolize caffeine slowly, and so since then, I’ve tried to lower my caffeine intake.”

When 23Mofang launched in 2015, it sold 1,500 testing kits. This year, with the largest gene database in the country, it has already sold 156,000.

Read full, original post: China embraces a revolution in genetic testing, seeking answers on destiny and identity

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