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
Abbott A. 2002. A physical response to architecture. Nature 420:126.
A journal article with 2 authors
Imura T, Tomonaga M. 2013. Differences between chimpanzees and humans in visual temporal integration. Sci. Rep. 3:3256.
A journal article with 3 authors
Satoh N, Nakashima T, Yamamoto K. 2013. Metastability of anatase: size dependent and irreversible anatase-rutile phase transition in atomic-level precise titania. Sci. Rep. 3:1959.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Wei C-J, Boyington JC, McTamney PM, Kong W-P, Pearce MB, Xu L, Andersen H, Rao S, Tumpey TM, Yang Z-Y, et al. 2010. Induction of broadly neutralizing H1N1 influenza antibodies by vaccination. Science 329:1060–1064.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Lade PV. 2016. Triaxial Testing of Soils. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
An edited book
Backhouse R, Gibbons J, Hinze R, Jeuring J eds. 2007. Datatype-Generic Programming: International Spring School, SSDGP 2006, Nottingham, UK, April 24–27, 2006, Revised Lectures. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer
A chapter in an edited book
Bojarovich J, Malinkovsky Y. 2013. Stationary Distribution Invariance of an Open Queueing Network with Temporarily Non-active Customers. In: Dudin A, Klimenok V, Tsarenkov G, Dudin S, editors. Modern Probabilistic Methods for Analysis of Telecommunication Networks: Belarusian Winter Workshops in Queueing Theory, BWWQT 2013, Minsk, Belarus, January 28-31, 2013. Proceedings. Communications in Computer and Information Science. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer. p. 26–32.

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
Taub B. 2016. Disco-Loving Sea Lion Helps Shed Light On Evolutionary Origins Of Music. 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. 1989. Education Information: Production and Quality Deserve Increased Attention. 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
Rodriguez F. 2010. Grant proposal: Providing effective screening, training, and supervision for an at-risk youth mentoring program.

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
Kelly M. 1992. THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: The Democrats; Clinton Says Bush Is Afraid Of Debating “Man to Man.” New York Times:16.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Abbott 2002).
This sentence cites two references (Abbott 2002; Imura and Tomonaga 2013).

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

  • Two authors: (Imura and Tomonaga 2013)
  • Three or more authors: (Wei et al. 2010)

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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