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
Emery B. 2010. Regulation of oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelination. Science 330:779–782.
A journal article with 2 authors
McEvoy MA, Correll N. 2015. Materials science. Materials that couple sensing, actuation, computation, and communication. Science 347:1261689.
A journal article with 3 authors
Zhang C, Chan CT, Hu X. 2014. Broadband focusing and collimation of water waves by zero refractive index. Sci. Rep. 4:6979.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Lipton SA, Nakamura T, Yao D, Shi Z-Q, Uehara T, Gu Z. 2005. Comment on “S-nitrosylation of parkin regulates ubiquitination and compromises parkin’s protective function.” Science 308:1870; author reply 1870.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Wasson CS. 2005. System Analysis, Design, and Development. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Dickerson JH, Boccaccini AR eds. 2012. Electrophoretic Deposition of Nanomaterials. New York, NY: Springer
A chapter in an edited book
Kumar M, Chauhan R. 2010. Present Status, Challenges and Management of the Japanese Coastal Zone Environment. In: Ramanathan AL, Bhattacharya P, Dittmar T, Prasad MBK, Neupane BR, editors. Management and Sustainable Development of Coastal Zone Environments. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. p. 73–84.

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
Fang J. 2014. New Pulsar Resolution is One Million Times More Precise. 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. 1992. Comments on JTPA Bills. 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
Ochse AR. 2013. Targeted Killing, Drones and International Law: How U.S. Practice is Shaping International Law.

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
Hodara S. 2015. Seven Museums, Each Offering a Deadly Sin. New York Times:WE9.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Emery 2010).
This sentence cites two references (Emery 2010; McEvoy and Correll 2015).

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

  • Two authors: (McEvoy and Correll 2015)
  • Three or more authors: (Lipton et al. 2005)

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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