News Article | February 15, 2017
BEIJING--(BUSINESS WIRE)--cippe 2017 (the 17th China International Petroleum & Petrochemical Technology and Equipment Exhibition) will be held on March 20-22, 2017 at New China International Exhibition Center in Beijing. With an exhibition area of 100,000m2, the event will gather around 2,000 exhibitors from 65 countries and regions, including 50 Fortune Global 500 companies and 18 international pavilions, to display the latest cutting-edge petrochemical and equipment technologies and products. cippe is an approved member of the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) and enjoys the support of China’s Ministry of Commerce. This year as the petroleum industry is setting to revive, cippe will present a more professional, valuable and wonderful event for the industry players. In 2017, apart from the existing Oil Exploration & Development, Offshore Oil & Gas, Offshore Engineering, Oil & Gas Pipeline, Shale Gas, Natural Gas and Explosion-proof Equipment zones, the event will add professional exhibition zones for more market segments, including Valves, Fire Control, Oilfield & Land Conservation, in a bid to build a more precise and professional matching platform for buyers. So far, companies that have confirmed to attend include Caterpillar, NOV, Schlumberger, GE, Honeywell, DOW Chemical, Rockwell, Transneft, Rosneft, Akzo, API, 3M, E+H, MTU, Hempel, CNPC, Sinopec, CNOOC, CSSC, CSIC, CASC, Jereh, Kerui, RG Petro-Machinery, Sany Heavy Industry, Northern Heavy Industries Group, CITIC Pacific, HBP, Jerrywon, LandOcean Energy, Anton Oilfield, Shanghai Shenkai, Tiehu Petromachinery, Tidfore, CNOOC, DS Group and Warom Technology. Building professional forums to help insiders look into the future cippe 2017 will continue to hold the 9th International Petroleum Summit highlighting low-cost development, which will analyze industry prospects and policies to come up with feasible practices and technologies. Multiple other technology seminars and symposiums will be held concurrently. During cippe 2017, the organizer Zhenwei Expo will partner with Xi'an Shiyou University and Shanxi Petroleum Society to hold the 2017 International Petroleum & Petrochemical Technology Conference, covering the full industry chain including offshore petroleum exploration, drilling and producing engineering, oil & gas storage and transportation, etc. Besides, cippe will launch the Middle East session by cooperating with Petroleum Association of Middle East (PAME) and Business Gateways International. LLC., (BGI) of Oman. While BGI Oman will introduce in details about its Joint Supplier Registration System (JSRS) to facilitate Chinese petroleum companies to enter Omanis market, PAME will elaborate on the opportunities, challenges and strategies in the Middle Eastern market. cippe 2017 will attract over 100 buyer and visitor delegations comprised of government institutions, industry associations and companies. Rosneft, Gazprom, Transneft, Saudi Aramco, Statoil, NIOC, INOC, Qatargas, Saudi Aramco, Emirates National Oil, Petronas, KNPC, PDVSA, EVOLEN, PAME, DNV, and other industry associations from the Netherlands, India and France.
News Article | February 15, 2017
No statistical methods were used to predetermine sample size. The experiments were not randomized and the investigators were not blinded to allocation during experiments and outcome assessment. We sequenced Chenopodium quinoa Willd. (quinoa) accession PI 614886 (BioSample accession code SAMN04338310; also known as NSL 106399 and QQ74). DNA was extracted from leaf and flower tissue of a single plant, as described in the “Preparing Arabidopsis Genomic DNA for Size-Selected ~20 kb SMRTbell Libraries” protocol (http://www.pacb.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Shared-Protocol-Preparing-Arabidopsis-DNA-for-20-kb-SMRTbell-Libraries.pdf). DNA was purified twice with Beckman Coulter Genomics AMPure XP magnetic beads and assessed by standard agarose gel electrophoresis and Thermo Fisher Scientific Qubit Fluorometry. 100 Single-Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) cells were run on the PacBio RS II system with the P6-C4 chemistry by DNALink (Seoul). De novo assembly was conducted using the smrtmake assembly pipeline (https://github.com/PacificBiosciences/smrtmake) and the Celera Assembler, and the draft assembly was polished using the quiver algorithm. DNA was also sequenced using an Illumina HiSeq 2000 machine. For this, DNA was extracted from leaf tissue of a single soil-grown plant using the Qiagen DNeasy Plant Mini Kit. 500-bp paired-end (PE) libraries were prepared using the NEBNext Ultra DNA Library Prep Kit for Illumina. Sequencing reads were processed with Trimmomatic (v0.33)42, and reads <75 nucleotides in length after trimming were removed from further analysis. The remaining high-quality reads were assembled with Velvet (v1.2.10)43 using a k-mer of 75. High-molecular-weight DNA was isolated and labelled from leaf tissue of three-week old quinoa plants according to standard BioNano protocols, using the single-stranded nicking endonuclease Nt.BspQI. Labelled DNA was imaged automatically using the BioNano Irys system and de novo assembled into consensus physical maps using the BioNano IrysView analysis software. The final de novo assembly used only single molecules with a minimum length of 150 kb and eight labels per molecule. PacBio-BioNano hybrid scaffolds were identified using IrysView’s hybrid scaffold alignment subprogram. Using the same DNA prepared for PacBio sequencing, a Chicago library was prepared as described previously10. The library was sequenced on an Illumina HiSeq 2500. Chicago sequence data (in FASTQ format) was used to scaffold the PacBio-BioNano hybrid assembly using HiRise, a software pipeline designed specifically for using Chicago data to assemble genomes10. Chicago library sequences were aligned to the draft input assembly using a modified SNAP read mapper (http://snap.cs.berkeley.edu). The separations of Chicago read pairs mapped within draft scaffolds were analysed by HiRise to produce a likelihood model, and the resulting likelihood model was used to identify putative mis-joins and score prospective joins. A population was developed by crossing Kurmi (green, sweet) and 0654 (red, bitter). Homozygous high- and low-saponin F lines were identified by planting 12 F seeds derived from each F line, harvesting F seed from these F plants, and then performing foam tests on the F seed. Phenotyping was validated using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). RNA was extracted from inflorescences containing a mixture of flowers and seeds at various stages of development from the parents and 45 individual F progeny. RNA extraction and Illumina sequencing were performed as described above. Sequencing reads from all lines were trimmed using Trimmomatic and mapped to the reference assembly using TopHat44, and SNPs were called using SAMtools mpileup (v1.1)45. For linkage mapping, markers were assigned to linkage groups on the basis of the grouping by JoinMap v4.1. Using the maximum likelihood algorithm of JoinMap, the order of the markers was determined; using this as start order and fixed order, regression mapping in JoinMap was used to determine the cM distances. Genes differentially expressed between bitter and sweet lines and between green and red lines were identified using default parameters of the Cuffdiff function of the Cufflinks program46. A second mapping population was developed by crossing Atlas (sweet) and Carina Red (bitter). Bitter and sweet F lines were identified by performing foam and taste tests on the F seed. DNA sequencing was performed with DNA from the parents and 94 sweet F lines, as described above, and sequencing reads were mapped to the reference assembly using BWA. SNPs were called in the parents and in a merged file containing all combined F lines. Genotype calls were generated for the 94 F genotypes by summing up read counts over a sliding window of 500 variants, at all variant positions for which the parents were homozygous and polymorphic. Over each 500-variant stretch, all reads with Atlas alleles were summed, and all reads with the Carina Red allele were summed. Markers were assigned to linkage groups using JoinMap, with regression mapping used to obtain the genetic maps per linkage group. The Kurmi × 0654 and Atlas × Carina Red maps were integrated with the previously published quinoa linkage map13, with the Kurmi × 0654 map being used as the reference for the positions of anchor markers and scaling. We selected markers from the same scaffold that were in the same 10,000-bp bin in the assembly. The anchor markers on the alternative map received the position of the Kurmi × 0654 map anchor marker in the integrated map. This process was repeated with anchor markers at the 100,000-bp bin level. The assumption is that at the 100,000-bp bin level recombination should essentially be zero. On this level, a regression of cM position on both maps yielded R2 values >0.85 and often >0.9, so the regression line can easily be used for interpolating the positions of the alternative map towards the corresponding position on the Kurmi × 0654 map. All Kurmi × 0654 markers went into the integrated map on their original position. Pseudomolecules were assembled by concatenating scaffolds based on their order and orientation as determined from the integrated linkage map. An AGP (‘A Golden Path’) file was made that describes the positions of the scaffold-based assembly in coordinates of the pseudomolecule assembly, with 100 ‘N’s inserted between consecutive scaffolds. Based on these coordinates, custom scripts were used to generate the pseudomolecule assembly and to recoordinate the annotation file. DNA was extracted from C. pallidicaule (PI 478407) and C. suecicum (BYU 1480) and was sent to the Beijing Genomic Institute (BGI, Hong Kong) where one 180-bp PE library and two mate-pair libraries with insert sizes of 3 and 6 kb were prepared and sequenced on the Illumina HiSeq platform to obtain 2 × 100-bp reads for each library. The generated reads were trimmed using the quality-based trimming tool Sickle (https://github.com/najoshi/sickle). The trimmed reads were then assembled using the ALLPATHS-LG assembler47, and GapCloser v1.1248 was used to resolve N spacers and gap lengths produced by the ALLPATHS-LG assembler. Repeat families found in the genome assemblies of quinoa, C. pallidicaule and C. suecicum (see Supplementary Information 3) were first independently identified de novo and classified using the software package RepeatModeler49. RepeatMasker50 was used to discover and identify repeats within the respective genomes. AUGUSTUS51 was used for ab initio gene prediction, using model training based on coding sequences from Amaranthus hypochondriacus, Beta vulgaris, Spinacia oleracea and Arabidopsis thaliana. RNA-seq and isoform sequencing reads generated from RNA of different tissues were mapped onto the reference genome using Bowtie 2 (ref. 52) and GMAP53, respectively. Hints with locations of potential intron–exon boundaries were generated from the alignment files with the software package BAM2hints in the MAKER package54. MAKER with AUGUSTUS (intron–exon boundary hints provided from RNA-seq and isoform sequencing) was then used to predict genes in the repeat-masked reference genome. To help guide the prediction process, peptide sequences from B. vulgaris and the original quinoa full-length transcript (provided as EST evidence) were used by MAKER during the prediction. Genes were characterized for their putative function by performing a BLAST search of the peptide sequences against the UniProt database. PFAM domains and InterProScan ID were added to the gene models using the scripts provided in the MAKER package. The following quinoa accessions were chosen for DNA re-sequencing: 0654, Ollague, Real, Pasankalla (BYU 1202), Kurmi, CICA-17, Regalona (BYU 947), Salcedo INIA, G-205-95DK, Cherry Vanilla (BYU 1439), Chucapaca, Ku-2, PI 634921 (Ames 22157), Atlas and Carina Red. The following accessions of C. berlandieri were sequenced: var. boscianum (BYU 937), var. macrocalycium (BYU 803), var. zschackei (BYU 1314), var. sinuatum (BYU 14108), and subsp. nuttaliae (‘Huauzontle’). Two accessions of C. hircinum (BYU 566 and BYU 1101) were also sequenced. All sequencing was performed with an Illumina HiSeq 2000 machine, using either 125-bp (Atlas and Carina Red) or 100-bp (all other accessions) paired-end libraries. Reads were trimmed using Trimmomatic and mapped to the reference assembly using BWA (v0.7.10)55. Read alignments were manipulated with SAMtools, and the mpileup function of SAMtools was used to call SNPs. Orthologous and paralogous gene clusters were identified using OrthoMCL28. Recommended settings were used for all-against-all BLASTP comparisons (Blast+ v2.3.056) and OrthoMCL analyses. Custom Perl scripts were used to process OrthoMCL outputs for visualization with InteractiVenn57. Using OrthoMCL, orthologous gene sets containing two copies in quinoa and one copy each in C. pallidicaule, C. suecicum, and B. vulgaris were identified. In total, 7,433 gene sets were chosen, and their amino acid sequences were aligned individually for each set using MAFFT58. The 7,433 alignments were converted into PHYLIP format files by the seqret command in the EMBOSS package59. Individual gene trees were then constructed using the maximum likelihood method using proml in PHYLIP60. In addition, the genomic variants of all 25 sequenced taxa (Supplementary Data 5) relative to the reference sequence were called based on the mapped Illumina reads in 25 BAM files using SAMtools. To call variants in the reference genome (PI 614886), Illumina sequencing reads were mapped to the reference assembly. Variants were then filtered using VCFtools61 and SAMtools, and the qualified SNPs were combined into a single VCF file which was used as an input into SNPhylo62 to construct the phylogenetic relationship using maximum likelihood and 1,000 bootstrap iterations. To identify FT homologues, the protein sequence from the A. thaliana flowering time gene FT was used as a BLAST query. Filtering for hits with an E value <1 × e−3 and with RNA-seq evidence resulted in the identification of four quinoa proteins. One quinoa protein (AUR62013052) appeared to be comprised of two tandem repeats which were separated for the purposes of phylogenetic analysis. For the construction of the phylogenetic tree, protein sequences from these five quinoa FT homologues were aligned using Clustal Omega63 along with two B. vulgaris (gene models: BvFT1-miuf.t1, BvFT2-eewx.t1) and one A. thaliana (AT1G65480.1) homologue. Phylogenetic analysis was performed with MEGA64 (v6.06). The JTT model was selected as the best fitting model. The initial phylogenetic tree was estimated using the neighbour joining method (bootstrap value = 50, Gaps/ Missing Data Treatment = Partial Deletion, Cutoff 95%), and the final tree was estimated using the maximum likelihood method with a bootstrap value of 1,000 replicates. The syntenic relationships between the coding sequences of the chromosomal regions surrounding these FT genes were visualized using the CoGE65 GEvo tool and the Multi-Genome Synteny Viewer66. The alignment of bHLH domains was performed with Clustal Omega63, using sequences from Mertens et al.39. The phylogeny was inferred using the maximum likelihood method based on the JTT matrix-based model67. Initial trees for the heuristic search were obtained automatically by applying Neighbour-Join and BioNJ algorithms to a matrix of pairwise distances estimated using a JTT model, and then selecting the topology with superior log likelihood value. All positions containing gaps and missing data were eliminated. Trimmed PE Illumina sequencing reads that were used for the de novo assembly of C. suecicum and C. pallidicaule were mapped onto the reference quinoa genome using the default settings of BWA. For every base in the quinoa genome, the depth coverage of properly paired reads from the C. suecicum and C. pallidicaule mapping was calculated using the program GenomeCoverage in the BEDtools package68. A custom Perl script was used to calculate the percentage of each scaffold with more than 5× coverage from both diploids. Scaffolds were assigned to the A or B sub-genome if >65% of the bases were covered by reads from one diploid and <25% of the bases were covered by reads from the other diploid. The relationship between the quinoa sub-genomes and the diploid species C. pallidicaule and C. suecicum was presented in a circle proportional to their sizes using Circos69. Orthologous regions in the three species were identified using BLASTN searches of the quinoa genome against each diploid genome individually. Single top BLASTN hits longer than 8 kb were selected and presented as links between the quinoa genome assembly (arranged in chromosomes, see Supplementary Information 7.3) and the two diploid genome assemblies on the Circos plot (Fig. 2a). Sub-genome synteny was analysed by plotting the positions of homoeologous pairs of A- and B-sub-genome pairs within the context of the 18 chromosomes using Circos. Synteny between the sub-genomes and B. vulgaris was assessed by first creating pseudomolecules by concatenating scaffolds which were known to be ordered and oriented within each of the nine chromosomes. Syntenic regions between these B. vulgaris chromosomes and those of quinoa were then identified using the recommended settings of the CoGe SynMap tool70 and visualized using MCScanX71 and VGSC72. For the purposes of visualization, quinoa chromosomes CqB05, CqA08, CqB11, CqA15 and CqB16 were inverted. Quinoa seeds were embedded in a 2% carboxymethylcellulose solution and frozen above liquid nitrogen. Sections of 50 μm thickness were obtained using a Reichert-Jung Frigocut 2800N, modified to use a Feather C35 blade holder and blades at −20 °C using a modified Kawamoto method73. A 2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid (Sigma-Aldrich) matrix (40 mg ml−1 in 70% methanol) was applied using a HTX TM-Sprayer (HTX Technologies LLC) with attached LC20-AD HPLC pump (Shimadzu Scientific Instruments). Sections were vacuum dried in a desiccator before analysis. The optical image was generated using an Epson 4400 Flatbed Scanner at 4,800 d.p.i. For mass spectrometric analyses, a Bruker SolariX XR with 7T magnet was used. Images were generated using Bruker Compass FlexImaging 4.1. Data were normalized to the TIC, and brightness optimization was employed to enhance visualization of the distribution of selected compounds. Individual spectra were recalibrated using Bruker Compass DataAnalysis 4.4 to internally lock masses of known DHB clusters: C H O = 273.039364 and C H O = 409.055408 m/z. Accurate mass measurements for individual saponins and identified compounds were run using continuous accumulation of selected ions (CASI) using mass windows of 50–100 m/z and a transient of 4 megaword generating a transient of 2.93 s providing a mass resolving power of approximately 390,000 at 400 m/z. Lipids were putatively assigned by searching the LipidMaps database74 (http://www.lipidmaps.org) and lipid class confirmed by collision-induced dissociation using a 10 m/z window centred around the monoisotopic peak with collision energy of between 15–20 V. Quinoa flowers were marked at anthesis, and seeds were sampled at 12, 16, 20 and 24 days after anthesis. A pool of five seeds from each time point was analysed using GC/MS. Quantification of saponins was performed indirectly by quantifying oleanolic acid (OA) derived from the hydrolysis of saponins extracted from quinoa seeds. Derivatized solution was analysed using single quadrupole GC/MS system (Agilent 7890 GC/5975C MSD) equipped with EI source at ionisation energy of 70 eV. Chromatography separation was performed using DB-5MS fused silica capillary column (30m × 0.25 mm I.D., 0.25 μm film thickness; Agilent J&W Scientific), chemically bonded with 5% phenyl 95% methylpolysiloxane cross-linked stationary phase. Helium was used as the carrier gas with constant flow rate of 1.0 ml min−1. The quantification of OA in each sample was performed using a standard curve based on standards of OA. Specific, individual saponins were identified in quinoa using a preparation of 20 mg of seeds performed according a modified protocol from Giavalisco et al.75. Samples were measured with a Waters ACQUITY Reversed Phase Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography (RP-UPLC) coupled to a Thermo-Fisher Exactive mass spectrometer, which consists of an electrospray ionisation source and an Orbitrap mass analyser. A C18 column was used for the hydrophilic measurements. Chromatograms were recorded in full-scan MS mode (mass range, 100 −1,500). Extraction of the LC/MS data was accomplished with the software REFINER MS 7.5 (GeneData). SwissModel76 was used to produce homology models for the bHLH region of AUR62017204, AUR62017206 and AUR62010677. RaptorX77 was used for prediction of secondary structure and disorder. QUARK78 was used for ab initio modelling of the C-terminal domain, and the DALI server79 was used for 3D homology searches of this region. Models were manually inspected and evaluated using the PyMOL program (http://pymol.org). The genome assemblies and sequence data for C. quinoa, C. pallidicaule and C. suecicum were deposited at NCBI under BioProject codes PRJNA306026, PRJNA326220 and PRJNA326219, respectively. Additional accessions numbers for deposited data can be found in Supplementary Data 9. The quinoa genome can also be accessed at http://www.cbrc.kaust.edu.sa/chenopodiumdb/ and on the Phytozome database (http://www.phytozome.net/).
News Article | March 2, 2017
Sequoia Capital China Joins Team of Global Leading Investors as Klook Further Expands Spectrum of In-Destination Services HONG KONG, March 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Klook, Asia's largest attractions, tours, and activities booking platform, today announced it has raised US$30 million in Series B funding led by Sequoia Capital China. Existing investors including Matrix Partners, ex-Tencent executive-backed Welight Capital also participated with follow-on investments. The funds will further Klook's global expansion efforts to offer one-stop booking for travelers to enjoy everything from attractions, tours and activities to local transfers, dining experiences, shopping, etc. Founded in late 2014, Klook's team of investors already includes some of the world's leading venture capitalists. "Scale advantage is a prominent element in the travel industry, especially within the highly fragmented in-destination sector," said Neil Shen, Founding and Managing Partner of Sequoia Capital China. "With combined strengths in transaction and community, Klook has become a proven leader in Asia. We're happy to join the company on this exciting journey going forward." "Ever since our initial investment, the Klook team has demonstrated great business judgment backed by sound execution," added David Zhang, Founding Managing Partner of Matrix Partners. "Having witnessed the rapid growth of the business, we are convinced that Klook has firmly established itself as the clear winner in this space and we're pleased to continue our support." Klook's platform covers over 80 popular destinations in Asia and beyond, providing more than 10,000 attractions, tours, and activities. Last year, the company helped travelers book a record 5 million trips. To support this growth, Klook has developed into a team of over 200 staffers based in 8 offices across Asia. "Klook is shaping the way people discover destinations and customize itineraries," said Ethan Lin, CEO & Co-Founder of Klook. "Over the past two years, we've been tirelessly reinventing the supply chain and innovating our UI to create a seamless booking experience for millions of users. Now with a few clicks or taps, the travel services you need and the activities you seek will all be at your fingertips." Looking ahead, Klook will be broadening its scope of operations beyond Asia to meet the spending power and growing appetite of Asian travelers. The company is confident that as travelers make more mid to long-haul journeys out of the region, there will be a significant demand to access everything a destination has to offer on one consolidated platform. "We are proud of our achievements in the attractions, tours and activities segment, and now we are expanding the spectrum of our in-destination offers," said Eric Gnock Fah, COO & Co-Founder of Klook. "After seeing great results in our newly launched local transfer & wifi vertical, we are enthusiastically diving deeper into the in-destination ecosystem to offer a wider array of services, from dining and wellness experiences to shopping deals, for travelers to enjoy wherever they go." Besides building a bigger portfolio of experiences and services, Klook is also developing the largest collection of travel videos in the industry. From original content to exploring new formats like 360 or VR videos, the team at Klook will be focused on creating an engaging discovery and booking experience on all of its platforms. Klook is Asia's largest platform to book a wide array of in-destination services at the best prices. We give travelers the chance to discover and enjoy every memorable moment from adventure thrills at Universal Studios Japan, one-of-a-kind experiences like shipwreck diving in Bali, gourmet dining aboard the Singapore Cable Car, to the airport express and Pocket WiFi at Hong Kong Airport. Klook was named Best Internet & Communications Technology Startup by the Hong Kong Government in 2015, and won the Future Commerce Award hosted by Taiwan's largest tech media Digitimes in 2016. Klook's mobile platform was featured and awarded "Best of 2015" by Apple and "Best App of the Year" by Google Play. As "The Entrepreneurs Behind The Entrepreneurs", Sequoia Capital China focuses on four sectors: TMT, healthcare, consumer/service, and new energy/advanced manufacturing. Over the past 12 years, we've had the privilege of working with more than 300 companies in China, including Alibaba, Ali Pictures, AutoNavi, Beta Pharma, BGI, Deppon Logistics, Dianping, Didi, DJI, Ganji.com, Hero Entertainment, JD.com, Jumei, Meituan, Meilishuo, Momo, Noah, Ourpalm, Plateno Hotels Group, Qihoo 360, Sina.com, SINNET, Snibe Diagnostic, Toutiao, VanceInfo, VIPshop, Wanda Cinemas, Weigao Group, Yuwell Medical, ZTO Express. Sequoia has operations in China, India, Israel, and the United States. About Matrix Partners Matrix Partners is a venture capital firm with offices in Silicon Valley, Boston, Beijing and Shanghai. Matrix China invests in early stage companies, particularly in following sectors: mobile, online finance, enterprise service and health care. Notable investments include Didi-Kuaidi, Cheetah mobile, Momo, Qihoo, etc. To learn more about our investors, please visit:
News Article | March 2, 2017
HONG KONG, March 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Klook, Asia's largest attractions, tours, and activities booking platform, today announced it has raised US$30 million in Series B funding led by Sequoia Capital China. Existing investors including Matrix Partners, ex-Tencent executive-backed Welight Capital also participated with follow-on investments. The funds will further Klook's global expansion efforts to offer one-stop booking for travelers to enjoy everything from attractions, tours and activities to local transfers, dining experiences, shopping, etc. Founded in late 2014, Klook's team of investors already includes some of the world's leading venture capitalists. "Scale advantage is a prominent element in the travel industry, especially within the highly fragmented in-destination sector," said Neil Shen, Founding and Managing Partner of Sequoia Capital China. "With combined strengths in transaction and community, Klook has become a proven leader in Asia. We're happy to join the company on this exciting journey going forward." "Ever since our initial investment, the Klook team has demonstrated great business judgment backed by sound execution," added David Zhang, Founding Managing Partner of Matrix Partners. "Having witnessed the rapid growth of the business, we are convinced that Klook has firmly established itself as the clear winner in this space and we're pleased to continue our support." Klook's platform covers over 80 popular destinations in Asia and beyond, providing more than 10,000 attractions, tours, and activities. Last year, the company helped travelers book a record 5 million trips. To support this growth, Klook has developed into a team of over 200 staffers based in 8 offices across Asia. "Klook is shaping the way people discover destinations and customize itineraries," said Ethan Lin, CEO & Co-Founder of Klook. "Over the past two years, we've been tirelessly reinventing the supply chain and innovating our UI to create a seamless booking experience for millions of users. Now with a few clicks or taps, the travel services you need and the activities you seek will all be at your fingertips." Looking ahead, Klook will be broadening its scope of operations beyond Asia to meet the spending power and growing appetite of Asian travelers. The company is confident that as travelers make more mid to long-haul journeys out of the region, there will be a significant demand to access everything a destination has to offer on one consolidated platform. "We are proud of our achievements in the attractions, tours and activities segment, and now we are expanding the spectrum of our in-destination offers," said Eric Gnock Fah, COO & Co-Founder of Klook. "After seeing great results in our newly launched local transfer & wifi vertical, we are enthusiastically diving deeper into the in-destination ecosystem to offer a wider array of services, from dining and wellness experiences to shopping deals, for travelers to enjoy wherever they go." Besides building a bigger portfolio of experiences and services, Klook is also developing the largest collection of travel videos in the industry. From original content to exploring new formats like 360 or VR videos, the team at Klook will be focused on creating an engaging discovery and booking experience on all of its platforms. Klook is Asia's largest platform to book a wide array of in-destination services at the best prices. We give travelers the chance to discover and enjoy every memorable moment from adventure thrills at Universal Studios Japan, one-of-a-kind experiences like shipwreck diving in Bali, gourmet dining aboard the Singapore Cable Car, to the airport express and Pocket WiFi at Hong Kong Airport. Klook was named Best Internet & Communications Technology Startup by the Hong Kong Government in 2015, and won the Future Commerce Award hosted by Taiwan's largest tech media Digitimes in 2016. Klook's mobile platform was featured and awarded "Best of 2015" by Apple and "Best App of the Year" by Google Play. As "The Entrepreneurs Behind The Entrepreneurs", Sequoia Capital China focuses on four sectors: TMT, healthcare, consumer/service, and new energy/advanced manufacturing. Over the past 12 years, we've had the privilege of working with more than 300 companies in China, including Alibaba, Ali Pictures, AutoNavi, Beta Pharma, BGI, Deppon Logistics, Dianping, Didi, DJI, Ganji.com, Hero Entertainment, JD.com, Jumei, Meituan, Meilishuo, Momo, Noah, Ourpalm, Plateno Hotels Group, Qihoo 360, Sina.com, SINNET, Snibe Diagnostic, Toutiao, VanceInfo, VIPshop, Wanda Cinemas, Weigao Group, Yuwell Medical, ZTO Express. Sequoia has operations in China, India, Israel, and the United States. About Matrix Partners Matrix Partners is a venture capital firm with offices in Silicon Valley, Boston, Beijing and Shanghai. Matrix China invests in early stage companies, particularly in following sectors: mobile, online finance, enterprise service and health care. Notable investments include Didi-Kuaidi, Cheetah mobile, Momo, Qihoo, etc. To learn more about our investors, please visit:
News Article | February 15, 2017
PHILADELPHIA (February 14, 2017) - Just before Rare Disease Day 2017, a study from the Monell Center and collaborating institutions provides new insight into the causes of trimethylaminura (TMAU), a genetically-transmitted metabolic disorder that leads to accumulation of a chemical that smells like rotting fish. Although TMAU has been attributed solely to mutations in a single gene called FMO3, the new study combined sensory and genetic approaches to identify additional genes that may contribute to TMAU. The findings indicate that genetic testing to identify mutations in the FMO3 gene may not be sufficient to identify the underlying cause of all cases of TMAU. TMAU is classified as a "rare disease," meaning that it affects less than 200,000 people in the United States. However, its actual incidence remains uncertain, due in part to inconclusive diagnostic techniques. "Our findings may bring some reassurance to people who report fish-like odor symptoms but do not have mutations in the FMO3 gene," said Monell behavioral geneticist Danielle R. Reed, PhD, a senior author on the study. The socially and psychologically distressing symptoms of TMAU result from the buildup of trimethylamine (TMA), a chemical compound produced naturally from many foods rich in the dietary constituent, choline. Such foods include eggs, certain legumes, wheat germ, saltwater fish and organ meats. TMA, which has a foul, fishy odor, normally is metabolized by the liver enzyme flavin-containing monooxygenase 3 (FMO3) into an odorless metabolite. People with TMAU are unable to metabolize TMA, presumably due to defects in the underlying FMO3 gene that result in faulty instructions for making functional FMO3 enzymes. The TMA, along with its associated unpleasant odor, then accumulates and is excreted from the body in urine, sweat, saliva, and breath. However, some people who report having the fish odor symptoms of TMAU do not have severely disruptive mutations in the FMO3 gene. This led the researchers to suspect that other genes may also contribute to the disorder. In the new study, reported in the open access journal BMC Medical Genetics, the research team combined a gene sequencing technique known as exome analysis with sophisticated computer modeling to probe for additional TMAU-related genes. The study compared sensory, metabolic and genetic data from ten individuals randomly selected from 130 subjects previously evaluated for TMAU at the Monell Center. Each subject's body odor was evaluated in the laboratory by a trained sensory panel before and after a metabolic test to measure production of TMA over 24 hours following ingestion of a set amount of choline. Although the choline challenge test confirmed a diagnosis of TMAU by revealing a high level of urinary TMA in all 10 subjects, genetic analyses revealed that the FMO3 gene appeared to be normal in four of the 10. Additional analyses revealed defects in several other genes that could contribute to the inability to metabolize the odorous TMA. "We now know that genes other than FMO3 may contribute to TMAU. These new genes may help us better understand the underlying biology of the disorder and perhaps even identify treatments," said Reed. TMAU's odor symptoms may occur in irregular and seemingly unpredictable intervals. This makes the disease difficult to diagnose, as patients can appear to be odor-free when they consult a health professional. This was evidenced in the current study. Although all of the subjects reported frequent fish-odor symptoms, none was judged by the sensory panel to have a fish-like odor at the time of the choline challenge. Monell analytical organic chemist George Preti, PhD, also a senior author, commented on the diagnostic implications of the combined findings, "Regardless of either the current sensory presentation TMAU or the FMO3 genetics, the choline challenge test will confirm the accumulation of TMA that reveals the presence of the disorder." Moving forward, the researchers would like to repeat the genetic analyses in a larger cohort of TMAU patients without FMO3 mutations to confirm which other genes are involved in the disorder. "Such information may identify additional odorants produced by TMAU-positive patients, and inform the future development of gene-based therapies" said Preti. Also contributing to the research were co-lead author Liang-Dar Hwang, Jason Eades, Chung Wen Yu, Corrine Mansfield, Alexis Burdick-Will, and Fujiko Duke of Monell; co-lead author Yiran Guo, Xiao Chang, Brendan Keating, and Hakon Hakonarson of the Center for Applied Genomics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; co-lead author Jiankang Li, Yulan Chen, and Jianguo Zhang of BGI-Shenzhen (China); Steven Fakharzadeh of the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; Paul Fennessey of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center; and Hui Jiang of BGI-Shenzhen, the Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Genomics, and the Guangdong Enterprise Key Laboratory of Human Disease Genomics. Funding for the research was provided by the National Organization of Rare Diseases; Institutional funds from the Monell Chemical Center and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute; National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication of the National Institutes of Health (P30DC011735); Shenzhen Municipal Government of China (CXZZ20130517144604091); Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Genomics (CXB200903110066A); and Guangdong Enterprise Key Laboratory of Human Disease Genomics (2011A060906007). Philanthropic funding was provided by the TMAU Foundation, Volatile Analysis, Inc., the family of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Hasselbusch with matching funds from Merck Easy Match, and the late Ms. Bonnie Hunt. The Monell Chemical Senses Center is an independent nonprofit basic research institute based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Poised to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2018, Monell advances scientific understanding of the mechanisms and functions of taste and smell to benefit human health and well-being. Using an interdisciplinary approach, scientists collaborate in the programmatic areas of sensation and perception; neuroscience and molecular biology; environmental and occupational health; nutrition and appetite; health and well-being; development, aging and regeneration; and chemical ecology and communication. For more information about Monell, visit http://www. .
News Article | February 17, 2017
Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Cell Analysis Global Market - Forecast to 2023" report to their offering. The cell analysis market is expected to grow at high single digit CAGR to reach $47,088 million by 2023. The major factor influencing the growth is enhanced precision of cell imaging and analysis systems which in turn reduce time and cost of drug discovery process. In addition, the factors like increasing incidence of cancer, increasing government investments, funds, and grants, availability of reagents and cell analysis instruments are driving the growth of the market. However, the major market restraints include high capital investments and a shortage of skilled labor for the high content screening procedure. The biggest opportunities for this market is the emerging APAC market, high content screening services provided by contract research organizations, automation in cancer research for its early diagnosis and reduction of cost in the cancer treatment. The cell analysis global market is a competitive and all the active players in this market are involved in innovating new and advanced products to maintain their market shares. The key players in the cell analysis global market include Agilent Technologies, Inc. (U.S.), Becton Dickinson and Company (U.S.), Bio-Rad Laboratories (U.S.), Danaher Corporation (U.S.), GE Healthcare (U.K.), Merck KGAA (Germany), Olympus Corporation (Japan), PerkinElmer, Inc. (U.S.), Promega Corporation (U.S.), Qiagen N.V. (Netherlands) and ThermoFisher Scientific, Inc. (U.S.). In order to offer the products with better software, most of the players in the cell analysis market are collaborating with companies and educational institutions. - 4titude (U.K.) - AB Sciex (U.S.) - Abbott Laboratories, Inc. (U.S.) - Abcam PLC (U.S.) - Abdos (India) - Abnova Corporation (Taiwan) - ACEA Bioscience, Inc (U.S.) - Active Motif (U.S.) - Adnagen (U.S.) - Advanced Cell Diagnostics (U.S.) - Agilent Technologies, Inc. (U.S.) - Alere (U.S.) - Analytik Jena AG (Germany) - Apocell (U.S.) - Applied Microarrays (U.S.) - Ausragen (U.S.) - Auxilab S.L (Spain) - Avantes BV (Netherlands) - Aven Inc (U.S.) - Aviva Bioscience (U.S.) - Becton Dickinson and Company (U.S.) - BGI (China) - Bibby Scientific Limited (U.K.) - Bio Care Medical LLC (U.S.) - BioDot Inc. (U.S.) - Biofluidica (U.S.) - Biologics (China) - BioMerieux SA (Germany) - Bio-Rad Laboratories (U.S.) - Bioron (France) - Biosearch Technologies (U.S.) - BioView (Israel) - BMS microscopes (Netherlands) - Bruker (U.S.) - Canopus Bioscience (U.S.) - Capp ApS (Denmark) - Carl Zeiss AG (Germany) - Cell Signaling Technology, Inc. (U.S.) - Cell-Vu (U.S.) - Cherry Biotech (France) - Cisbio Bioassays (France) - Clearbridge BioMedics (Singapore) - Corning Inc (U.S.) - Creatv Microtech inc (U.S.) - Cyflogic (Finland) - Cynvenio Biosystems (U.S.) - Cytognos S.L. (Spain) - DaAn Gene (China) - Danaher Corporation (U.S.) - Danish Micro Engineering (Denmark) - Diagenode (Netherlands) - DiscoveRx (U.S.) - Domel (Slovenia) - Dragon Laboratory Instruments Ltd (China) - eBioscience, Inc., (U.S.) - Eppendorf (Germany) - Etaluma, Inc (U.S.) - Eurofins Scientific (Luxembourg) - EXIQON (Denmark) - FEI Company (U.S.) - Fluidgm Corporation (U.S.) - Fluxion Biosciences (U.S.) - GE Healthcare (U.K.) - Genedata AG (Switzerland) - Genemed Biotechnologies Inc (U.S.) - General Biologicals (Taiwan) - Gyros AB (Sweden) - Handyem (Canada) - Hausser Scientific (U.S.) - Herolab GmbH (Germany) - Hettich lab technology (Germany) - Hoffmann-La Roche (Switzerland) - HORIBA, Ltd. (Japan) - Illumina (U.S.) - Immunodiagnostics systems (France) - Jasco (U.S.) - Jena Biosciences (Germany) - JEOL, Ltd. (Japan) - Jasco Analytical Instruments (U.S.) - Kapa Biosystems (U.S.) - Keyence Corporation (U.S.) - Kyratec (Australia) - Labcon (U.S.) - Labnet International, Inc (U.S.) - Lubio Science (Switzerland) - Luminex Corporation (U.S.) - LW Scientific (U.S.) - Macrogen Inc (South Korea) - Medical Econet (Austria) - Meijo techno (U.K.) - Merck KGaA (Germany) - Mettler-Toledo, Inc. (U.S.) - Micro-shot Technology Ltd (China) - Miltenyil Biotec (Germany) - Nanostring Technologies (U.S.) - New England Biolabs (U.S.) - Nikon Corporation (Japan) - Olympus Corporation (Japan) - Optika SRL., (Italy) - Ortho Clinical Diagnostics (U.S.) - Ortoalresa (Spain) - Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Ltd. (U.K.) - Pacific Biosciences (U.S.) - Panagene (South Korea) - Park Systems (Korea) - PerkinElmer Inc (U.S.) - Pheonix (U.S.) - PicoQuant GmbH (Germany) - Promega Corporation (U.S.) - Qiagen N.V. (Netherlands) - Quest Diagnostics (U.S.) - R&D Systems (U.S.) - Rain Dance Technologies (U.S.) - Rheonix (U.S.) - Rigaku Corporation (Japan) - RR Mechatronics (Netherlands) - Sacace Biotechnologies (Italy) - Sanyo (Japan) - Scienion (Germany) - Scientific Specialities Inc (U.S.) - Seegene (South Korea) - Seimens Healthcare (Germany) - Separation Technology, Inc (U.S.) - Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (Japan) - Sigma Laborzentrifugen GmbH (Germany) - Sohn GmbH (Germany) - Sony Biotechnology (U.S.) - Sprenson Bioscience (U.S.) - Stemcell Technologies (Canada) - Sysmex (Japan) - Tecan (Switzerland) - The Western Electric & Scientific Works (India) - ThermoFisher Scientific Inc (U.S.) - Thorlabs (U.S.) - Toyo Gosei Co., Ltd (Japan) - TrimGen Genetic Diagnostics (U.S.) - Vision Scientific Co Ltd (Korea) - Visitron Systems Gmbh (Germany) - Waters Corporation (U.S.) - Yokogawa Electric Corporation (Japan) - Zymo Research (U.S.) For more information about this report visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/ngm5k6/cell_analysis About Research and Markets Research and Markets is the world's leading source for international market research reports and market data. 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News Article | February 24, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C.—When it comes to genome sequencing, visionaries like to throw around big numbers: There’s the UK Biobank, for example, which promises to decipher the genomes of 500,000 individuals, or Iceland’s effort to study the genomes of its entire human population. Yesterday, at a meeting here organized by the Smithsonian Initiative on Biodiversity Genomics and the Shenzhen, China–based sequencing powerhouse BGI, a small group of researchers upped the ante even more, announcing their intent to, eventually, sequence “all life on Earth.” Their plan, which does not yet have funding dedicated to it specifically but could cost at least several billions of dollars, has been dubbed the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP). Harris Lewin, an evolutionary genomicist at the University of California, Davis, who is part of the group that came up with this vision 2 years ago, says the EBP would take a first step toward its audacious goal by focusing on eukaryotes—the group of organisms that includes all plants, animals, and single-celled organisms such as amoebas. That strategy, and the EBP’s overall concept, found a receptive audience at BioGenomics2017, a gathering this week of conservationists, evolutionary biologists, systematists, and other biologists interested in applying genomics to their work. “This is a grand idea,” says Oliver Ryder, a conservation biologist at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research in California. “If we really want to understand how life evolved, genome biology is going to be part of that.” Ryder and others drew parallels between the EBP and the Human Genome Project, which began as an ambitious, controversial, and, at the time, technically impossible proposal more than 30 years ago. That earlier effort eventually led not only to the sequencing of the first human genome, but also to entirely new DNA technologies that are at the center of many medical frontiers and the basis for a $20 billion industry. “People have learned from the human genome experience that [sequencing] is a tremendous advance in biology,” Lewin says. Many details about the EBP are still being worked out. But as currently proposed, the first step would be to sequence in great detail the DNA of a member of each eukaryotic family (about 9000 in all) to create reference genomes on par or better than the reference human genome. Next would come sequencing to a lesser degree a species from each of the 150,000 to 200,000 genera. Finally, EBP participants would get rough genomes of the 1.5 million remaining known eukaryotic species. These lower resolution genomes could be improved as needed by comparing them with the family references or by doing more sequencing, says EBP co-organizer Gene Robinson, a behavioral genomics researcher and director of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois in Urbana. The entire eukaryotic effort would likely cost about the same as it did to sequence that first human genome, estimate Lewin, Robinson, and EBP co-organizer John Kress, an evolutionary biologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History here. It took about $2.7 billion to read and order the 3 billion bases composing the human genome, about $4.8 billion in today’s dollars. With a comparable amount of support, the EBP’s eukaryotic work might be done in a decade, its organizers suggest. Such optimism arises from ever-decreasing DNA sequencing costs—one meeting presenter from Complete Genomics, based in Mountain View, California, says his company plans to be able to roughly sequence whole eukaryotic genomes for about $100 within a year—and improvements in sequencing technology that make possible higher quality genomes, at reasonable prices. “It became apparent to me that at a certain point, it would be possible to sequence all life on Earth,” Lewin says. Although some may find the multibillion-dollar price tag hard to justify for researchers not studying humans, the fundamentals of matter, or the mysteries of the universe, the EBP has a head start, thanks to the work of several research communities pursuing their own ambitious sequencing projects. These include the Genome 10K Project, which seeks to sequence 10,000 vertebrate genomes, one from each genus; i5K, an effort to decipher 5000 arthropods; and B10K, which expects to generate genomes for all 10,500 bird species. The EBP would help coordinate, compile, and perhaps fund these efforts. “The [EBP] concept is a community of communities,” Lewin says. There are also sequencing commitments from giants in the genomics field, such as China’s BGI, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom. But at a planning meeting this week, it became clear that significant challenges await the EBP, even beyond funding. Although researchers from Brazil, China, and the United Kingdom said their nations are eager to participate in some way, the 20 people in attendance emphasized the need for the effort to be more international, with developing countries, particularly those with high biodiversity, helping shape the project’s final form. They proposed that the EBP could help develop sequencing and other technological experts and capabilities in those regions. The Global Genome Biodiversity Network, which is compiling lists and images of specimens at museums and other biorepositories around the world, could supply much of the DNA needed, but even broader participation is important, says Thomas Gilbert, an evolutionary biologist at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. The planning group also stressed the need to develop standards to ensure high-quality genome sequences and to preserve associated information for each organism sequenced, such as where it was collected and what it looked like. Getting DNA samples from the wild may ultimately be the biggest challenge—and the biggest cost, several people noted. Not all museum specimens yield DNA preserved well enough for high-quality genomes. Even recently collected and frozen plant and animal specimens are not always handled correctly for preserving their DNA, says Guojie Zhang, an evolutionary biologist at BGI and the University of Copenhagen. And the lack of standards could undermine the project’s ultimate utility, notes Erich Jarvis, a neurobiologist at The Rockefeller University in New York City: “We could spend money on an effort for all species on the planet, but we could generate a lot of crap.” But Lewin is optimistic that won’t happen. After he outlined the EBP in the closing talk at BioGenomics2017, he was surrounded by researchers eager to know what they could do to help. “It’s good to try to bring together the tribes,” says Jose Lopez, a biologist from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, whose “tribe” has mounted “GIGA,” a project to sequence 7000 marine invertebrates. “It’s a big endeavor. We need lots of expertise and lots of people who can contribute.”
News Article | March 2, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Wells Fargo Global Dividend Opportunity Fund (NYSE:EOD), a closed-end fund, announced today that the fund’s Board of Trustees has approved several changes with respect to the fund: The fund is and will continue to be a closed-end fund investing in a diversified portfolio of common and/or preferred stocks of U.S. and non-U.S. companies. With the changes discussed below, the fund will also invest a portion of its assets in below-investment-grade (high-yield) debt securities and loans. The fund’s primary investment objective is to seek a high level of current income. The fund’s secondary objective is long-term growth of capital. These objectives are not changing. Effective on or about May 1, 2017, the fund will adopt a multisleeve investment approach and will allocate its assets among two separate investment strategies. Under normal market conditions, the fund will allocate approximately 80% of its total assets to an equity sleeve, which will be comprised primarily of common stocks and up to 20% preferred stocks. The remaining 20% of the fund’s total assets will be allocated to a separate sleeve, which will primarily be invested in below-investment-grade (high-yield) debt securities, loans, and preferred stocks. The fund’s principal investment strategy has been to primarily invest in common and/or preferred stocks of U.S. and non-U.S. companies and any other equity securities that offer an above-average potential for current and/or future dividends. Except for the strategy changes specifically discussed below (that is, relating to foreign securities, preferred stock, and dividend capture), the principal investment strategy, limitations, and restrictions currently in place for the fund will apply only to the equity sleeve of the fund, which will comprise approximately 80% of the fund’s total assets. These include, among others, the following: The normal allocation range for foreign investments in the equity sleeve will be modified to be a typical range of 40% to 70% of the equity sleeve’s total assets in foreign securities, rather than a typical range of 30% to 70% of the fund’s total assets in foreign securities. The normal allocation for preferred stocks in the equity sleeve will be no more than 20% of the equity sleeve’s total assets. Under normal conditions, the fund will no longer make significant use of the dividend capture strategy that the fund has used significantly since inception to generate income in the portfolio. This change is intended to provide flexibility to allow the fund to more effectively seek its primary and secondary investment objectives. Under normal market conditions, the high-yield sleeve, which will comprise approximately 20% of the fund’s total assets, expects to be primarily invested in below-investment-grade (high-yield) debt securities, loans, and preferred stocks. These securities are rated Ba or lower by Moody’s or BB or lower by S&P or are unrated securities of comparable quality as determined by the advisor. Debt securities rated below investment grade are commonly referred to as junk bonds and are considered speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal. They involve greater risk of loss, are subject to greater price volatility, and are less liquid (especially during periods of economic uncertainty or change) than higher-rated debt securities. The sleeve’s investments in high-yield securities may have fixed or variable principal payments and all types of interest rate and dividend payment and reset terms, including fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, zero-coupon, contingent, deferred, payment-in-kind, and auction-rate features. The sleeve may invest up to 10% of its total assets in U.S. dollar–denominated securities of foreign issuers, excluding emerging markets securities. The sleeve may invest in securities of any credit quality at the time of purchase. However, securities rated CCC or lower cannot be added to the portfolio if, at the time of purchase, more than 20% of the sleeve’s assets are rated CCC or lower. The sleeve will invest in securities with a broad range of maturities. Convertible securities: The high-yield sleeve’s investments in fixed-income securities may include bonds and preferred stocks that are convertible into the equity securities of the issuer. The sleeve will not invest more than 20% of its total assets in convertible instruments. Depending upon the relationship of the conversion price to the market value of the underlying securities, convertible securities may trade more like equity securities than debt instruments. Corporate loans: The high-yield sleeve may invest a portion of its total assets in loan participations and other direct claims against a corporate borrower. The corporate loans in which the sleeve invests primarily consist of direct obligations of a borrower. The sleeve may invest in a corporate loan at origination as a co-lender or by acquiring in the secondary market participations in, assignments of, or novations of a corporate loan. By purchasing a participation, the fund acquires some or all of the interest of a bank or other lending institution in a loan to a corporate borrower. Asset-backed securities: The high-yield sleeve may invest in asset-backed securities but will not invest in mortgage-backed securities. Asset-backed securities represent participations in and are secured by and payable from assets such as installment sales or loan contracts, leases, credit card receivables and other categories of receivables. Real estate investment trusts (REITs): The high-yield sleeve may invest in REITs. REITs are companies that invest primarily in real estate or real estate–related loans. Interests in REITs are significantly affected by the market for real estate and are dependent upon management’s skills and on cash flows. Derivatives: The high-yield sleeve may invest up to 10% of its total assets in futures and options on securities and indexes and in other derivatives. In addition, the sleeve may enter into interest-rate swap transactions with respect to the total amount the fund is leveraged in order to hedge against adverse changes in interest rates affecting dividends payable on any preferred shares or interest payable on borrowings constituting leverage. In connection with any such swap transaction, the fund will segregate liquid securities in the amount of its obligations under the transaction. A derivative is a security or instrument whose value is determined by reference to the value or the change in value of one or more securities, currencies, indexes, or other financial instruments. The fund does not use derivatives as a primary investment technique and generally does not anticipate using derivatives for non-hedging purposes. In the event the advisor uses derivatives for non-hedging purposes, no more than 3% of the sleeve’s total assets will be committed to initial margin for derivatives for such purposes. The fund may use derivatives for a variety of purposes, including: Use of leverage by the fund As permitted under the fund’s investment strategies, the fund intends to borrow money as a form of leverage in order to seek to obtain a higher return for shareholders than if it did not use leverage. Specifically, the fund will seek to borrow money in an amount that is approximately 16.5% of the fund’s net assets as of January 31, 2017. Leveraging is a speculative technique, and there are special risks involved. There can be no assurance that any leveraging strategies, if employed by the fund, will be successful, and such strategies can result in losses to the fund. For the purposes of managing the new high-yield sleeve, effective May 1, 2017, the advisor will employ Wells Capital Management, Inc., one of the current subadvisors of the fund. In light of this additional role, the subadvisory fee paid to Wells Capital Management will increase from 0.10% of average daily total assets per year to 0.20% of average daily total assets per year. It is important to note that this subadvisory fee is paid from the advisor’s own assets and is not paid by the fund. Therefore, the management fee charged to the fund’s shareholders will not change as a result. The portfolio managers for this sleeve will be Niklas Nordenfelt, CFA, and Philip Susser. Mr. Nordenfelt is currently managing director and senior portfolio manager of the U.S. High Yield Fixed Income team at Wells Capital Management. Mr. Nordenfelt joined the U.S. High Yield Fixed Income team at Wells Capital Management in February 2003 as an investment strategist. Mr. Nordenfelt began his investment career in 1991 and has managed portfolios ranging from quantitative-based and tactical asset allocation strategies to credit-driven portfolios. Previous to joining Wells Capital Management, Mr. Nordenfelt was at Barclays Global Investors (BGI) from 1996 to 2002, where he was a principal. At BGI, he worked on the company’s international and emerging markets equity strategies after having managed its asset allocation products. Prior to this, Mr. Nordenfelt was a quantitative analyst at Fidelity and a portfolio manager and group leader at Mellon Capital Management. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and has earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) designation. Mr. Susser is currently managing director and senior portfolio manager for the U.S. High Yield team at Wells Capital Management. Mr. Susser joined the team as a senior research analyst in 2001. He has extensive research experience in the cable/satellite, gaming, hotels, restaurants, printing/publishing, telecom, REIT, lodging, and distressed sectors. Mr. Susser’s investment experience began in 1995, spending three years as a securities lawyer at Cahill Gordon and Shearman & Sterling representing underwriters and issuers of high-yield debt. Later, he evaluated venture investment opportunities for MediaOne Ventures before joining Deutsche Bank as a research analyst. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. Crow Point Partners, LLC, and Wells Capital Management, the current subadvisors for the fund, will continue to serve as subadvisors for the equity sleeve. Timothy O'Brien, CFA, of Crow Point Partners, along with Kandarp Acharya, CFA, FRM®, and Christian Chan, CFA, of Wells Capital Management will continue in their roles as portfolio managers. The fund’s Board of Trustees has approved the commencement of a managed distribution plan, effective beginning with the quarterly distribution to be declared in May 2017 and paid in July 2017, that provides for the declaration of quarterly distributions to common shareholders of the fund at an annual minimum fixed rate of 10% based on the fund’s average monthly net asset value (NAV) per share over the prior 12 months. Under the managed distribution plan, quarterly distributions may be sourced from income, paid-in capital, and/or capital gains, if any. Shareholders may elect to reinvest distributions received pursuant to the managed distribution plan in the fund under the existing dividend reinvestment plan, which is described in the fund’s shareholder reports. Leverage risk: The fund may enter into transactions including, among others, options, futures and forward contracts, loans of portfolio securities, swap contracts, and other derivatives, as well as when-issued, delayed delivery, or forward commitment transactions, that may in some circumstances give rise to a form of leverage. The fund would likely use some or all of these transactions from time to time in the management of its portfolio, for hedging purposes, to adjust portfolio characteristics, or more generally for purposes of attempting to increase the fund’s investment return. The fund may also offset derivatives positions against one another or against other assets to manage effective market exposure resulting from derivatives in its portfolio. To the extent that any offsetting positions do not behave in relation to one another as expected, the fund may perform as if it were leveraged. The fund also borrows money for leveraging purposes. Although it has no current intention to do so, the fund reserves the flexibility to issue preferred shares and debt securities, for leveraging purposes. The fund’s use of leverage would create the opportunity for increased common share net income but also would result in special risks for common shareholders. There is no assurance that any leveraging strategies, if employed by the fund, will be successful, and such strategies can result in losses to the fund. Leverage creates the likelihood of greater volatility of the NAV and market price of and distributions on common shares. Because the fees received by the advisor and the subadvisor are based on the total assets of the fund (including assets represented by any preferred shares and certain other forms of leverage outstanding), the advisor and the subadvisor have a financial incentive for the fund to issue preferred shares or use such leverage, which may create a conflict of interest between the advisor and the subadvisor, on one hand, and the common shareholders, on the other hand. To the extent the investment return derived from securities purchased with funds received from leverage exceeds the cost of leverage, the fund’s return will be greater than if leverage had not been used. Conversely, if the investment return from the securities purchased with such funds is not sufficient to cover the cost of leverage or if the fund incurs capital losses, the return of the fund will be less than if leverage had not been used, and the amount available for distribution to shareholders as dividends and other distributions will be reduced or potentially eliminated. Leverage creates risks which may adversely affect the return for the holders of common shares, including, for example, the following: (i) the likelihood of greater volatility of the NAV, the market price, or the dividend rate of the common shares; (ii) fluctuations in the dividend rates on any preferred shares or in interest rates on borrowings and short-term debt; (iii) increased operating costs, which may reduce the fund’s total return; and (iv) the potential for a decline in the value of an investment acquired with borrowed funds, while the fund’s obligations under such borrowing remain fixed. Certain types of borrowings may result in the fund being subject to covenants in credit agreements, including those relating to asset coverage, borrowing base, and portfolio composition requirements and additional covenants that may affect the fund’s ability to pay dividends and distributions on common shares in certain instances. The fund also may be required to pledge its assets to the lenders in connection with certain types of borrowing. The fund may be subject to certain restrictions on investments imposed by guidelines of one or more nationally recognized rating organizations, which may issue ratings for any preferred shares or short-term debt instruments issued by the fund. These guidelines may impose asset coverage or portfolio composition requirements that are more stringent than those imposed by the 1940 Act. Derivatives involve risks, including interest-rate risk, credit risk, the risk of improper valuation, and the risk of noncorrelation to the relevant instruments they are designed to hedge or closely track. There are numerous risks associated with transactions in options on securities and/or indexes. As a writer of an index call option, the fund forgoes the opportunity to profit from increases in the values of securities held by the fund. However, the fund has retained the risk of loss (net of premiums received) should the price of the fund’s portfolio securities decline. Similar risks are involved with writing call options or secured put options on individual securities and/or indexes held in the fund’s portfolio. This combination of potentially limited appreciation and potentially unlimited depreciation over time may lead to a decline in the net asset value of the fund. Foreign investments may contain more risk due to the inherent risks associated with changing political climates, foreign market instability, and foreign currency fluctuations. Risks of foreign investing are magnified in emerging or developing markets. Small- and mid-cap securities may be subject to special risks associated with narrower product lines and limited financial resources compared with their large-cap counterparts, and, as a result, small- and mid-cap securities may decline significantly in market downturns and may be more volatile than those of larger companies due to their higher risk of failure. When interest rates decline, interest that a fund is able to earn on its investments in debt securities may also decline, but the value of those securities may increase. Changes in market conditions and governmental policies may lead to periods of heightened volatility in the debt securities market and reduced liquidity for certain fund investments. Interest-rate changes and their impact on the funds and their NAVs can be sudden and unpredictable. High-yield, lower-rated bonds may contain more risk due to the increased possibility of default. Illiquid securities may be subject to wide fluctuations in market value. The fund may be subject to significant delays in disposing of illiquid securities. Accordingly, the fund may be forced to sell these securities at less than fair market value or may not be able to sell them when the advisor or subadvisor believes that it is desirable to do so. This closed-end fund is no longer available as an initial public offering and is only offered through broker/dealers on the secondary market. For more information on Wells Fargo’s closed-end funds, please visit our website. Unlike an open-end mutual fund, a closed-end fund offers a fixed number of shares for sale. After the initial public offering, shares are bought and sold through broker/dealers in the secondary marketplace, and the market price of the shares is determined by supply and demand, not by NAV, and is often lower than the NAV. A closed-end fund is not required to buy its shares back from investors upon request. Wells Fargo Asset Management (WFAM) is a trade name used by the asset management businesses of Wells Fargo & Company. Wells Fargo Funds Management, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Company, provides investment advisory and administrative services for Wells Fargo Funds. Other affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company provide subadvisory and other services for the funds. This material is being prepared by Wells Fargo Funds Distributor, LLC, Member FINRA, an affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. Neither Wells Fargo Funds Management nor Wells Fargo Funds Distributor has fund customer accounts/assets, and neither provides investment advice/recommendations or acts as an investment advice fiduciary to any investor. Some of the information contained herein may include forward-looking statements about the expected investment activities of the funds. These statements provide no assurance as to the funds’ actual investment activities or results. The reader must make his/her own assessment of the information contained herein and consider such other factors as he/she may deem relevant to his/her individual circumstances.
News Article | February 22, 2017
Published today in the open-access journal GigaScience is an article that presents the genome of a parasitic mite, Tropilaelaps mercedesae, that infects bee colonies, which are facing wide-spread devastation across the entire world. The research was carried out by an international team of researchers at Jiaotong-Liverpool University and Liverpool University and focused on mites as they are one of the major threats to honey bee colonies. The work revealed that there were specific features in the T. mercedesae mite genome that had been shaped by their interaction with honey bees, and that current mechanisms to control mites are unlikely to be useful for T. mercedesae. The genome sequence and findings provide excellent resources for identifying gene-based mite control strategies and understanding mite biology. Although there are many potential causes for the decline in honey bee colonies, pathogens and parasites of the honey bee, particularly mites, are considered major threats to honey bee health and honey bee colonies. The bee mite Tropilaelaps mercedesae is honey bee parasite prevalent in most Asian countries, and has a similar impact on bee colonies that the globally present bee mite Varroa destructor has. More, T. mercedesae and V. destructor typically co-exist in Asian bee colonies and with the global trade of honey bees T. mercedesae is likely become established world-wide, as occurred with V. destructor. Given the ongoing international devastation of bee colonies, the researchers sequenced the genome of T. mercedesae, to assess the interaction between the parasite and host as well as provide a resource for the ongoing battle to save honey bee populations. The authors identified the genetic components in the genome and compared these to the genome of free-living mites. As opposed to the free-living mites, T. mercedesae has a very specialized life history and habitat that depends strictly on the honey bee inside a stable colony. Thus, comparison of the genome and transcriptome sequences with those of internal and free-living mites revealed the specific features of the T. mercedesae genome and showed that they were shaped by interaction with the honey bee and colony environment. Of particular interest, the authors found that the mite does not rely on sensing stimulatory chemicals to affect their behavior. The researchers noted that this discovery meant that, "control methods targeted to gustatory, olfactory, and ionotropic receptors are not effective." Instead, control measures will have to use other targets when trying to disrupt chemical communication. The authors further highlighted that, "there will be a need to identify targets for biological control." The researchers indicated that there were additional difficulties for controlling the mites, saying "We found that T, mercedesae is enriched with detoxifying enzymes and pumps for the toxic xenobiotics and thus the mite quickly acquires miticide resistance. For developing chemical control methods, we need to search for compounds which may not be recognized by the above proteins." Relevant to this, the researchers investigated the bacteria that infect the bee mite, as little is known about these bacteria. The scientists discovered that the symbiote R. grylli-like bacteria is commonly present in T. mercedesae, and they suggested that "Manipulating symbiotic Rickettsiella grylli-like bacteria, which is associated with T, mercedesae, may also help us to develop novel control strategies." They further found that this bacteria was involved in horizontal gene transfer of Wolbachia genes into the mite genome. Wolbachia is a bacteria that commonly infects arthropods, but is not present in T. mercedesae. While the authors were not overly surprised at discovering the occurrence of horizontal gene transfer since it has been detected in about 33% of sequenced arthropod genomes, they did note that this "is the first example discovered in mites and ticks as far as we know", and that, since no Wolbachia were currently infecting the mite, this indicated that Wolbachia was once a symbiont for T. mercedesae or its ancestor but it would have been replaced with R. grylli-like bacteria during evolution." The extent of honey bee colony destruction remains a complex problem, but one that has an extensive impact crop productivity since honey bees are needed for pollination of a variety of plants. Indeed, in several places in China, farm workers have begun to carry out manual pollination to maintain high crop yield in orchards. Thus, research and resources to help combat this global threat are needed now. The findings, genome, transcriptome, and proteome resources from T. mercedesae study add another weapon in the fight to save bee colonies. In keeping with the journal's goals of making the data underlying the analyses used in published research fully and freely available, all data from this project are available under a CC0 waiver in the GigaScience database, GigaDB, in a citable format (Dong, X, Armstrong, SD, Xia D, Makepeace BL, Darby AC, Kadowaki T (2016): Supporting Data for "Draft genome of the honey bee ectoparasitic mite, Tropilaelaps mercedesae, is shaped by the parasitic life history". GigaScience Database, http://dx. ), and, as a standard, the sequence data is available in the appropriate public repositories: under accession numbers BioProject: PRJNA343868 and PRIDE: PXD004997. Find GigaScience online on twitter @GigaScience; Facebook https:/ , and keep up-to-date with our blog http://blogs. . Find Oxford University Press on Twitter @OxfordJournals GigaScience is co-published by BGI and Oxford University Press. The journal covers research that uses or produces 'big data' from the full spectrum of the life sciences. It also serves as a forum for discussing the difficulties of and unique needs for handling large-scale data from all areas of the life sciences. The journal has a completely novel publication format -- one that integrates manuscript publication with complete data hosting, and analyses tool incorporation. To encourage transparent reporting of scientific research as well as enable future access and analyses, it is a requirement of manuscript submission to GigaScience that all supporting data and source code be made available in the GigaScience database, GigaDB, as well as in publicly available repositories. GigaScience will provide users access to associated online tools and workflows, and has integrated a data analysis platform, maximizing the potential utility and re-use of data. Follow GigaScience on twitter @GigaScience; Facebook https:/ , and keep up-to-date with our blog http://blogs. .
News Article | February 21, 2017
SIGNAL HILL, Calif., Feb. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- This month marks the 18th anniversary of BGI Worldwide Logistics, a domestic and international freight forwarding company. Founded in 1999 as a two-person operation, the company has grown to more than 30 employees with operations in New...