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I read in a paper:

One such genus is Dinemasporium which ... characterised by superficial, cupulate to discoid conidiomata with brown setae, and phialidic conidiogenous cells that give rise to hyaline, oblong to allantoid, aseptate conidia with an appendage at each end.

In the phrase "oblong to allantoid", is the word oblong valid for this context? If not, what other word would work?

** I am editing to thank you all. Although few people agreed to close this question (because they concern to the whole phrases), I should have told that I was confused for the phrase oblong to allantoid. It is clear now for me that oblong to allantoid means the range of genus Dinemasporium is oblong (Roughly rectangular or ellipsoidal-shaped) to allantoid (Sausage-shaped; spores that are long with rounded ends). I also learned from this journal for the word oblong in the same context; The conidia were subhyaline, oblong, and ellipsoid to allantoid.

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It looks to me like oblong to Allantoids is elliptical for oblong cells that give rise to Allantoids; but I'm totally baffled by the whole thing! Would this not be better suited to the Biology site? –  StoneyB May 13 '13 at 22:48
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It is correct, but you have introduced some typos in your transcription. See the sentence in this reference: One such genus is Dinemasporium, which forms the basis of the present study. It is characterised by superficial, cupulate to discoid conidiomata with brown setae, and phialidic conidiogenous cells that give rise to hyaline, oblong to allantoid, aseptate conidia with an appendage at each end. –  JLG May 14 '13 at 3:01
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GR. You are expected to be familiar with the usage of oblong in the context. –  Kris May 14 '13 at 9:04
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If you look up allantoid it means sausage-shaped. So oblong to allantoid means shaped like something somewhere between oblongs or sausages. Translated to something more closely resembling English (but completely ungrammatical), the phrase is "glassy, oblong-to-sausage-shaped, not-having-septa conidia. –  Peter Shor May 14 '13 at 11:27
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Similarly, cupulate means cup-shaped, so cupulate to discoid means shaped like cups or discs or something in-between. –  Peter Shor May 14 '13 at 11:38
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closed as too localized by MετάEd, J.R., Kris, Andrew Leach, Mitch May 14 '13 at 13:01

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1 Answer

Certain kinds of English have particular rules that are not the same as conversation. For example recipes don't sound natural at all. In this case, the sentence is using a lot of highly specific words and eliding some. The two phrases X to Y refer to shapes that fit along a spectrum. The colour equivalent might be "red to orange" in one place and "yellow to green" in another.

To understand the sentence you need to understand each jargon word and possibly substitute the elided words. For example you might think "oblong to allantoid in shape" just as you might need to think "red to orange in colour". Same with earlier "cupulate to discoid in shape."

I might reword the sentence as:

One such genus is Dinemasporium, which forms the basis of the present study. It is characterised by conidiomata that are superficial, and cupulate to discoid in shape, with brown setae. It is further characterized by phialidic conidiogenous cells. These conidigenous cells give rise to conidia. The conidia are hyaline, they are oblong to allantoid in shape, and they are aseptate. The conidia have an appendage at each end.

I'm still using their words but I've adjusted the structure to be less terse, a little more how you would explain this to another person. There's a lot of repetition in there, which is why textbooks tend to structure their sentences differently.

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Oblong to Allantoid does make sense grammatically? I consider 'oblong' refers to a relativity of shape, not to position –  dee May 14 '13 at 13:03
    
That's the exact same comment you made above, and I can't understand it. Does "red to orange" make sense to you? Neither red nor orange refers to a position. How about "warm to hot" or "tired to exhausted"? You can take any two adjectives X and Y and describe a group of things as being "X to Y" meaning that some are X, some are Y, and some are in between. It's a terse wording, that might not be understood in conversation, but is understood in the context of describing a set of cells and how to know what they are. –  Kate Gregory May 14 '13 at 13:18
    
Please see my comment above, thanks. –  dee May 15 '13 at 8:17
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