Eric Johansen ejo at biobase.dk
Sat Apr 29 02:49:24 EST 1995

Mr. M. Kuiper (mkuiper at hgmp.mrc.ac.uk) wrote:

: Hi there,

: Could anyone tell me why a hyphen is used in the following
: expression: 75-kDa? I have found this way of using molecular
: weights in quite a number of journals and it irritates me!

Lokking in Robert A. Day's book 'Scientific English' may give an answer to
your question. On p80 he describes the use of hyphens and mentions one 
called the 'unit hyphen'. It is used when two words modify a third word.
As an example he explains the difference between 'a single-malt whiskey'
and 'a single malt whiskey'. I suspect the editors in question think that
'a 75-kDa protein' is more precise than 'a 75 kDa protein'. Personally, I
don't think it matters as long as there is no potential for confusion.

By the way, the books by Day are essential reading for
anybody thinking of publishing in scientific journals.

Hope this helps.

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