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
Nimis PL. 2001. A tale from Bioutopia. Nature 413:21.
A journal article with 2 authors
McGhee K, Phillips N. 2015. Nature Index 2015 China. Nature 528:S165.
A journal article with 3 authors
Müller H, Peters A, Chu S. 2010. A precision measurement of the gravitational redshift by the interference of matter waves. Nature 463:926–929.
A journal article with 11 or more authors
Han Z, Tang Z, Shen S, Zhao B, Zheng G, Yang J. 2014. Strengthening of graphene aerogels with tunable density and high adsorption capacity towards Pb2+. Sci. Rep. 4:5025.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Attwood D, Baybutt P, Devlin C, Fluharty W, Hughes G, Isaacson D, Joyner P, Lee E, Lorenzo D, Morrison L, et al. 2006. Human Factors Methods for Improving Performance in the Process Industries. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Kals E, Maes J eds. 2012. Justice and Conflicts: Theoretical and Empirical Contributions. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer
A chapter in an edited book
Juyumaya J, Lambropoulou S. 2011. An Adelic Extension of the Jones Polynomial. In: Banagl M, Vogel D, editors. The Mathematics of Knots: Theory and Application. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer. p. 125–142.

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
Davis J. 2017. Traumatized Russian Raccoon In Erotic Video Scandal. 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. 1975. Federal Materials Research and Development: Modernizing Institutions and Management. 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
Pezzolesi MG. 2008. Novel Mechanisms of PTEN Dysfunction in PTEN Hamartoma Tumor Syndromes.

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
Packer G. 2013. Celebrating Inequality. New York Times:A21.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Nimis 2001).
This sentence cites two references (Nimis 2001; McGhee and Phillips 2015).

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

  • Two authors: (McGhee and Phillips 2015)
  • Three or more authors: (Han 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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