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
Parisi G. 2005. Brownian motion. Nature 433:221.
A journal article with 2 authors
Burt D, Pourquie O. 2003. Genetics. Chicken genome--science nuggets to come soon. Science 300:1669.
A journal article with 3 authors
Hanash SM, Pitteri SJ, Faca VM. 2008. Mining the plasma proteome for cancer biomarkers. Nature 452:571–579.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Baena-González E, Rolland F, Thevelein JM, Sheen J. 2007. A central integrator of transcription networks in plant stress and energy signalling. Nature 448:938–942.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Stidwill D, Fletcher R. 2010. Normal Binocular Vision. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
Gersen SL, Keagle MB eds. 2013. The Principles of Clinical Cytogenetics. 3rd ed. 2013. New York, NY: Springer
A chapter in an edited book
Lupfer CR, Kanneganti T-D. 2011. The Role of Inflammasomes in Viral Infection. In: Couillin I, Pétrilli V, Martinon F, editors. The Inflammasomes. Basel: Springer. p. 51–64.

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. Who Do You Think You Are? Most Detailed Genetic Map Of The British Isles Reveals All. 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. 1988. Air Force Pilots: U.S. Air Force Requirements, Inventory, and Related Data. 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
Williams VD. 2014. Leadership behavior practice patterns’ relationship to employee work engagement in a nonprofit that supports the homeless.

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
Pilon M. 2014. Suit Change Does Not Matter As U.S. Misses Podium Again. New York Times:SP7.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Parisi 2005).
This sentence cites two references (Burt and Pourquie 2003; Parisi 2005).

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

  • Two authors: (Burt and Pourquie 2003)
  • Three or more authors: (Baena-González et al. 2007)

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

Other styles