104 research outputs found

    Principal–Agent Relationship Within a Cruise Supply Chain Model for China

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    Changes in travelers’ booking habits and the evolution of technology have come to threaten the existence of traditional travel agents (TAs). However, the cruise industry still relies heavily on TAs as its main distribution channel. A qualitative study was conducted to investigate the networks, relationships, and power distribution between cruise companies and TAs using a triangulation method via a tourism supply chain model. Principal–agent (P-A) theory was taken as the framework to describe various parties’ relationships and roles. Several TA business models were identified, including group blocks (i.e., guaranteed and nonguaranteed) and charter cruises (i.e., retail or resale and corporate; meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions). Results show an imbalance of power between parties due to unique business practices and customer preferences in Mainland China. Principals (i.e., cruise companies) were found to rely excessively on agents (i.e., TAs) to create demand, with the growing number of cruise lines leading agents to overpower principals. The alliance among TAs further affected the principal–agent relationship. A refined tourism supply chain model tailored to the cruise industry is thus proposed herein; this cruise supply chain model simplifies the complicated business network relationships between cruise companies and TAs in China

    The Image of Taiwan as a Travel Destination: Perspectives from Mainland China

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    This study presents the perceived and projected image of Taiwan as a travel destination from perspectives from Mainland China. The perceived image of Taiwan was examined by interviewing 28 Mainland Chinese; the projected image of Taiwan was investigated by analyzing articles in China's most popular travel magazines. The different types of images of Taiwan among visitors, nonvisitors, and travel magazines were compared. The projected image changed notably after the opening of Taiwan's tourism to travelers from Mainland China. The results of this study could help destination marketing organizations to assess their marketing strategies for the Mainland Chinese travel market

    Projected Images of Major Chinese Outbound Destinations

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    This study aimed to explore the projected images of major outbound destinations based on popular travel magazines in China. Travel articles on Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan from 2006 to 2008 were content analyzed. Japan was reported on most, and the projected images of the six destinations are dominated by leisure and recreation, and culture, history and art. Correspondence analysis was used to examine relationships between destinations and popular image attributes. The results showed that South Korea and Macau had distinct projected images, whereas Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam shared many similar image attributes. Practical implications for destination marketing organizations are provided

    Conversion events in gene clusters

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Gene clusters containing multiple similar genomic regions in close proximity are of great interest for biomedical studies because of their associations with inherited diseases. However, such regions are difficult to analyze due to their structural complexity and their complicated evolutionary histories, reflecting a variety of large-scale mutational events. In particular, conversion events can mislead inferences about the relationships among these regions, as traced by traditional methods such as construction of phylogenetic trees or multi-species alignments.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>To correct the distorted information generated by such methods, we have developed an automated pipeline called CHAP (Cluster History Analysis Package) for detecting conversion events. We used this pipeline to analyze the conversion events that affected two well-studied gene clusters (α-globin and β-globin) and three gene clusters for which comparative sequence data were generated from seven primate species: CCL (chemokine ligand), IFN (interferon), and CYP2abf (part of cytochrome P450 family 2). CHAP is freely available at <url>http://www.bx.psu.edu/miller_lab</url>.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>These studies reveal the value of characterizing conversion events in the context of studying gene clusters in complex genomes.</p

    Coordinate up-regulation of TMEM97 and cholesterol biosynthesis genes in normal ovarian surface epithelial cells treated with progesterone: implications for pathogenesis of ovarian cancer

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Ovarian cancer (OvCa) most often derives from ovarian surface epithelial (OSE) cells. Several lines of evidence strongly suggest that increased exposure to progesterone (P4) protects women against developing OvCa. However, the underlying mechanisms of this protection are incompletely understood.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>To determine downstream gene targets of P4, we established short term <it>in vitro </it>cultures of non-neoplastic OSE cells from six subjects, exposed the cells to P4 (10<sup>-6 </sup>M) for five days and performed transcriptional profiling with oligonucleotide microarrays containing over 22,000 transcripts.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>We identified concordant but modest gene expression changes in cholesterol/lipid homeostasis genes in three of six samples (responders), whereas the other three samples (non-responders) showed no expressional response to P4. The most up-regulated gene was <it>TMEM97 </it>which encodes a transmembrane protein of unknown function (MAC30). Analyses of outlier transcripts, whose expression levels changed most significantly upon P4 exposure, uncovered coordinate up-regulation of 14 cholesterol biosynthesis enzymes, insulin-induced gene 1, low density lipoprotein receptor, <it>ABCG1</it>, endothelial lipase, stearoyl- CoA and fatty acid desaturases, long-chain fatty-acyl elongase, and down-regulation of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein and <it>ABCC6</it>. Highly correlated tissue-specific expression patterns of <it>TMEM97 </it>and the cholesterol biosynthesis genes were confirmed by analysis of the GNF Atlas 2 universal gene expression database. Real-time quantitative RT-PCR analyses revealed 2.4-fold suppression of the <it>TMEM97 </it>gene expression in short-term cultures of OvCa relative to the normal OSE cells.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>These findings suggest that a co-regulated transcript network of cholesterol/lipid homeostasis genes and <it>TMEM97 </it>are downstream targets of P4 in normal OSE cells and that <it>TMEM97 </it>plays a role in cholesterol and lipid metabolism. The P4-induced alterations in cholesterol and lipid metabolism in OSE cells might play a role in conferring protection against OvCa.</p

    Mutations in KEOPS-Complex Genes Cause Nephrotic Syndrome with Primary Microcephaly

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    Galloway-Mowat syndrome (GAMOS) is an autosomal-recessive disease characterized by the combination of early-onset nephrotic syndrome (SRNS) and microcephaly with brain anomalies. Here we identified recessive mutations in OSGEP, TP53RK, TPRKB, and LAGE3, genes encoding the four subunits of the KEOPS complex, in 37 individuals from 32 families with GAMOS. CRISPR-Cas9 knockout in zebrafish and mice recapitulated the human phenotype of primary microcephaly and resulted in early lethality. Knockdown of OSGEP, TP53RK, or TPRKB inhibited cell proliferation, which human mutations did not rescue. Furthermore, knockdown of these genes impaired protein translation, caused endoplasmic reticulum stress, activated DNA-damage-response signaling, and ultimately induced apoptosis. Knockdown of OSGEP or TP53RK induced defects in the actin cytoskeleton and decreased the migration rate of human podocytes, an established intermediate phenotype of SRNS. We thus identified four new monogenic causes of GAMOS, describe a link between KEOPS function and human disease, and delineate potential pathogenic mechanisms

    New genetic loci link adipose and insulin biology to body fat distribution.

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    Body fat distribution is a heritable trait and a well-established predictor of adverse metabolic outcomes, independent of overall adiposity. To increase our understanding of the genetic basis of body fat distribution and its molecular links to cardiometabolic traits, here we conduct genome-wide association meta-analyses of traits related to waist and hip circumferences in up to 224,459 individuals. We identify 49 loci (33 new) associated with waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for body mass index (BMI), and an additional 19 loci newly associated with related waist and hip circumference measures (P < 5 × 10(-8)). In total, 20 of the 49 waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for BMI loci show significant sexual dimorphism, 19 of which display a stronger effect in women. The identified loci were enriched for genes expressed in adipose tissue and for putative regulatory elements in adipocytes. Pathway analyses implicated adipogenesis, angiogenesis, transcriptional regulation and insulin resistance as processes affecting fat distribution, providing insight into potential pathophysiological mechanisms

    Finishing the euchromatic sequence of the human genome