Publication details [#63305]

Zayts, Olga and Zhengpeng Luo. 2017. Commodification and marketisation of genetic testing through online direct-to-consumer platforms in Hong Kong. Discourse & Communication 11 (6) : 630–647.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
SAGE Publications


This paper explores commodification and marketisation of genetic testing by companies proposing direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing to the general public via online platforms in Hong Kong. Recently, genetic testing offers have extended from scientific and clinical genetic settings to general medicine (e.g. in hereditary cancer) and non-medical domains (e.g. aptitude tests). The broader availability of tests, however, has raised concerns about the currently available scientifically proven utility of these tests. Employing theme-oriented discourse analysis, this paper explores the specific discursive modalities via which the DTC companies in Hong Kong make inflated claims about the value of genetic tests to pursue their marketing agenda. It displays that in this way the companies are selling ‘more’ than specific products to consumers: they are selling ‘hope’ and ‘increased autonomy’, that is, a chance to buy commodities online that promise consumers control of their health and wellbeing.