“Know thyself and you will know the universe,” said the ancient Greeks. Well, one way to do that nowadays is via DNA analysis.

DNA tests reveal core of illness and character

Just put 2 milliliters of saliva into a container, and send it to a DNA testing company. After 20 days, you will receive an online report detailing your ancestry, physical features, risk of disease, and physical and psychological traits.

While such testing was invented in the West, it is becoming increasingly popular in China.

A recent survey by China Youth Daily showed that the country has more than 230 DNA analysis companies, and 70 percent of them provide such services. Dozens of new companies have sprung up in the multimillion-dollar industry in the past year.

Zhang Qian, 30, said worsening health drove her to undergo analysis. Work pressure had strained the civil servant’s health for many years, leading to problems with her blood vessels, thyroid and ovaries. In recent years, reports of young people dying at work had scared her.

Expecting the test to predict and prevent diseases, she paid 699 yuan ($100) for one in March. The results suggested she was likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

Many diseases are caused by genetic mutation, and DNA testing can help identify disease or risk genes so treatment can be sought.

Qin Yu, 25, who works for an information technology company, was worried when a test indicated she was at high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers.

She remembered the story of Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, who in 2013 underwent a double mastectomy and later had her ovaries removed after learning that she carried a genetic mutation linked to breast and ovarian cancers.

Qin immediately went to a hospital for an examination. The test didn’t unearth any serious problems, but she bought health insurance anyway.

In China, DNA testing services cost from hundreds to thousands of yuan, but prices are falling.

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