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
Palme H. 2002. Planetary science. A new solar system basalt. Science 296:271–273.
A journal article with 2 authors
Reddy MM, Quinton PM. 2003. Control of dynamic CFTR selectivity by glutamate and ATP in epithelial cells. Nature 423:756–760.
A journal article with 3 authors
Papp B, Pál C, Hurst LD. 2004. Metabolic network analysis of the causes and evolution of enzyme dispensability in yeast. Nature 429:661–664.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Calderaro A, Arcangeletti M-C, Rodighiero I, Buttrini M, Gorrini C, Motta F, Germini D, Medici M-C, Chezzi C, De Conto F. 2014. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry applied to virus identification. Sci. Rep. 4:6803.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Goria S. 2017. Methods and Tools for Creative Competitive Intelligence. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Wilson ME, Trivedi RH, Saunders RA eds. 2009. Pediatric Ophthalmology: Current Thought and A Practical Guide. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer
A chapter in an edited book
Jung KW, Myung S-J. 2016. Technique, Interpretation and Clinical Application of Anorectal Manometry and Balloon Expulsion Test. In: Ghoshal UC, editor. Evaluation of Gastrointestinal Motility and its Disorders. New Delhi: Springer India. p. 31–47.

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
Andrew E. 2015. Captive Giant Pandas May Need To Form A Fight Club To Save The Species. 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. 1983. Status of Trident and SSN-688 Submarine Construction. 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
Greenfield D. 2017. Beyond Super Heroes and Talking Animals: Social Justice in Graphic Novels in Education.

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. Guardian Angels Welcome in Greenport. New York Times:14LI5.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Palme 2002).
This sentence cites two references (Palme 2002; Reddy and Quinton 2003).

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

  • Two authors: (Reddy and Quinton 2003)
  • Three or more authors: (Calderaro 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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