K. Oanh Ha submitted her DNA samples to 23andMe and 23Mofang, a Chinese company inspired by 23and Me, and wrote about the results for Bloomberg.
What's the difference between a consumer DNA test from the U.S. with one from China?@oanhha tests out @23andMe and Chinese startup 23Mofang. More @business: https://t.co/Kso8GV8JOO pic.twitter.com/up8duFUvge
— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) November 27, 2019
Unlike 23andMe, 23Mofang estimated life expectancy and assessed mental illness, indicating in her case, an elevated risk of developing bipolar disorder. The two tests differed fairly dramatically on ancestry:
You might assume that the two companies would offer similar analysis of my ancestry, which I've long thought to be three-fourths Vietnamese and one-fourth Chinese (my paternal grandfather migrated from China as a young man). Born in Vietnam and raised in the U.S., I now live in Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China.
23andMe's analysis mirrored what I knew, but my ancestry according to 23Mofang? 63% Han Chinese, 22% Dai — an ethnic group in southwestern China — and 3% Uighur. (It didn't pick up my Vietnam ancestry because the analysis only compares my genetics to those of other Chinese, according to the company.)
You can see the rest of her results at Bloomberg, including how some of the information changed each time she checked the companies' online portals. She also acknowledges the very real possibility that the Chinese government could seize results from 23Mofang and use information, such as purported Uighur heritage, to subject individuals to heightened scrutiny.
(Via Chris Anderson.)