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Suppose my PhD dissertation title is "small RNAs and gene silencing with RNAi". The university manual says I have to have uppercase title in my dissertation which then becomes "SMALL RNAS AND GENE SILENCING WITH RNAI". In this case, the upper case title could be confusing as it doesn't properly reflect what "RNAi" and "small RNAs" mean. What would be your suggestion? Thanks

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    (a) Check with your supervisor. (b) Check with your supervisor. (c) Check with your supervisor. (d) Look at similar theses. // I'm guessing that the 'established forms of abbreviation must be maintained' rule trumps the 'uppercase your title' rule. But then I'm a scientist first, so buck the trend if I see crazy outcomes ensuing from ill-thought-out language 'rules', especially with punctuation, capitalisation.... – Edwin Ashworth Mar 5 '20 at 17:31
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    DIFFERENT RNA AND GENE SILENCING? Can you put RNAi in a subtitle? If you have no choice in the title, leave it up to the reader to figure it out. – Yosef Baskin Mar 5 '20 at 17:31
  • I agree with Edwin, I would preserve the abreviated forms, but of course also check with supervisor, as this is a question that can only be answered by the faculty that created that particular rule. I would be amazed if the final outcome was not this however: "SMALL RNAs AND GENE SILENCING WITH RNAi" – Gary Mar 5 '20 at 20:43
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You should probably just reword your title; it will be all the clearer for it.

I'm not sure if this is exactly right, but you'll get the idea:

RNA INTERFERENCE: GENE SILENCING WITH SMALL RNA

or

RNA INTERFERENCE (RNAI): GENE SILENCING WITH SMALL RNA (SIRNA)

If you are worried about using RNA singular, try:

RNA INTERFERENCE: GENE SILENCING WITH SMALL RNA TYPES

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After checking a few thesis/dissertations from my own university, I think it is perfectly acceptable to write "SMALL RNAS AND GENE SILENCING WITH RNAI".

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  • The trouble is, it may not be acceptable at the university across town. ELU deals with standard usages rather than varying in-house styles. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 6 '20 at 17:24

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