How to format your references using the Molecular Biology and Evolution citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Molecular Biology and Evolution. For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
Motani R. 2010. Paleontology. Warm-blooded “sea dragons”? Science 328:1361–1362.
A journal article with 2 authors
Gaudet J, Mango SE. 2002. Regulation of organogenesis by the Caenorhabditis elegans FoxA protein PHA-4. Science 295:821–825.
A journal article with 3 authors
Overby CL, Hripcsak G, Shen Y. 2014. Estimating heritability of drug-induced liver injury from common variants and implications for future study designs. Sci. Rep. 4:5762.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Proverbio AM, Calbi M, Manfredi M, Zani A. 2014. Audio-visuomotor processing in the musician’s brain: an ERP study on professional violinists and clarinetists. Sci. Rep. 4:5866.

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
Chapman RJ. 2012. Simple Tools and Techniques for Enterprise Risk Management. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
Wang D, Zheng Z eds. 2005. Differential Equations with Symbolic Computation. Basel: Birkhäuser
A chapter in an edited book
Tang H-G, Peng T-Y. 2013. Auditor Industry Specialization, Analysts Following and Financing Constrains. In: Qi E, Shen J, Dou R, editors. The 19th International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management: Engineering Economics Management. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer. p. 35–44.

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

Blog post
Luntz S. 2016. Stars Are Dying Puzzlingly Young. IFLScience [Internet]. Available from:


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
Government Accountability Office. 1996. Programs for Land-Grant Schools. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Holloway LR. 2013. Synthesis and investigation of novel dinitrosyl-Iron complexes of chelated Bis-phosphine ligands: Potential nitric oxide delivery compounds.

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
Saslow L. 2006. Jets Overhead, Noise Complaints Below. New York Times:14LI2.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Motani 2010).
This sentence cites two references (Gaudet and Mango 2002; Motani 2010).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (Gaudet and Mango 2002)
  • Three or more authors: (Proverbio et al. 2014)

About the journal

Full journal titleMolecular Biology and Evolution
AbbreviationMol. Biol. Evol.
ISSN (print)0737-4038
ISSN (online)1537-1719
ScopeEcology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Molecular Biology

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