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Turku, Finland

The University of Turku , located in Turku in southwestern Finland, is the second largest university in the country as measured by student enrollment, after University of Helsinki. It was established in 1920 and also has faculties at Rauma, Pori and Salo. The university is a member of the Coimbra Group. Wikipedia.


Tuomisto H.,University of Turku
Oikos | Year: 2012

Ecologists widely agree that species diversity consists of two components, richness (the number of species) and evenness (a measure of the equitability of the proportional abundances of those species). However, no consensus on an exact definition of evenness (or equitability) has emerged. Instead, numerous equitability indices have been used in the ecological literature, as different researchers have preferred indices with different mathematical properties. In this paper, I show that the phrase 'species diversity consists of two independent components, richness and evenness' logically leads to one particular definition of evenness (Evenness = Diversity/Richness). To facilitate accurate communication, I propose that the term 'evenness' be used only to refer to this phenomenon, and that other terms be used for the equitability indices that measure other things. Here I provide a review of popular equitability indices, explain what each measures in practice, and show how they relate to each other and to evenness itself. I also explore how the partitioning of diversity into richness and evenness components is related to the partitioning of diversity into alpha and beta components. Dissecting the indices makes it easier to see the conceptual differences among them. Such understanding is necessary to ensure that an appropriate index is chosen for the questions at hand, as well as to interpret the index values correctly and to assess when index values can and when they cannot be considered comparable. © 2012 The Authors. Oikos © 2012 Nordic Society Oikos.


Kotaja N.,University of Turku
Fertility and Sterility | Year: 2014

In mammals, male gametes are produced inside the testis by spermatogenesis, which has three phases: mitotic proliferation of spermatogonia, meiosis of spermatocytes, and haploid differentiation of spermatids. The genome of male germ cells is actively transcribed to produce phase-specific gene expression patterns. Male germ cells have a complex transcriptome. In addition to protein-coding messenger RNAs, many noncoding RNAs, including microRNAs (miRNAs), are produced. The miRNAs are important regulators of gene expression. They function mainly post-transcriptionally to control the stability or translation of their target messenger RNAs. The miRNAs are expressed in a cell-specific manner during spermatogenesis to participate in the control of each step of male germ cell differentiation. Genetically modified mouse models have demonstrated the importance of miRNA pathways for normal spermatogenesis, and functional studies have been designed to dissect the roles of specific miRNAs in distinct cell types. Clinical studies have exploited the well-defined expression profiles of miRNAs, and human spermatozoal or seminal plasma miRNAs have been explored as potential biomarkers for male factor infertility. This review article discusses the current findings that support the central role of miRNAs in the regulation of spermatogenesis and male fertility. Copyright © 2014 American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Published by Elsevier Inc.


Rantala M.J.,University of Turku
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2013

According to the 'good genes' hypothesis, females choose males based on traits that indicate the male's genetic quality in terms of disease resistance. The 'immunocompetence handicap hypothesis' proposed that secondary sexual traits serve as indicators of male genetic quality, because they indicate that males can contend with the immunosuppressive effects of testosterone. Masculinity is commonly assumed to serve as such a secondary sexual trait. Yet, women do not consistently prefer masculine looking men, nor is masculinity consistently related to health across studies. Here, we show that adiposity, but not masculinity, significantly mediates the relationship between a direct measure of immune response (hepatitis B antibody response) and attractiveness for both body and facial measurements. In addition, we show that circulating testosterone is more closely associated with adiposity than masculinity. These findings indicate that adiposity, compared with masculinity, serves as a more important cue to immunocompetence in female mate choice.


Nikkanen L.,University of Turku
Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences | Year: 2014

Plants have adopted a number of mechanisms to restore redox homeostasis in the chloroplast under fluctuating light conditions in nature. Chloroplast thioredoxin systems are crucial components of this redox network, mediating environmental signals to chloroplast proteins. In the reduced state, thioredoxins control the structure and function of proteins by reducing disulfide bridges in the redox active site of a protein. Subsequently, an oxidized thioredoxin is reduced by a thioredoxin reductase, the two enzymes together forming a thioredoxin system. Plant chloroplasts have versatile thioredoxin systems, including two reductases dependent on ferredoxin and NADPH as reducing power, respectively, several types of thioredoxins, and the system to deliver thiol redox signals to the thylakoid membrane and lumen. Light controls the activity of chloroplast thioredoxin systems in two ways. First, light reactions activate the thioredoxin systems via donation of electrons to oxidized ferredoxin and NADP(+), and second, light induces production of reactive oxygen species in chloroplasts which deactivate the components of the thiol redox network. The diversity and partial redundancy of chloroplast thioredoxin systems enable chloroplast metabolism to rapidly respond to ever-changing environmental conditions and to raise plant fitness in natural growth conditions.


Trotta A.,University of Turku
Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences | Year: 2014

The evolutionary history of plants is tightly connected with the evolution of microbial pathogens and herbivores, which use photosynthetic end products as a source of life. In these interactions, plants, as the stationary party, have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to sense, signal and respond to the presence of external stress agents. Chloroplasts are metabolically versatile organelles that carry out fundamental functions in determining appropriate immune reactions in plants. Besides photosynthesis, chloroplasts host key steps in the biosynthesis of amino acids, stress hormones and secondary metabolites, which have a great impact on resistance against pathogens and insect herbivores. Changes in chloroplast redox signalling pathways and reactive oxygen species metabolism also mediate local and systemic signals, which modulate plant resistance to light stress and disease. Moreover, interplay among chloroplastic signalling networks and plasma membrane receptor kinases is emerging as a key mechanism that modulates stress responses in plants. This review highlights the central role of chloroplasts in the signalling crosstalk that essentially determines the outcome of plant-pathogen interactions in plants.

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