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Instructions for authors

Zygote is an international journal dedicated to the rapid publication of original research in early embryology. It covers interdisciplinary studies in animals and humans, from gametogenesis through fertilization to gastrulation. The scope includes gametogenesis, sperm–oocyte interaction, gamete and embryo physiology, cell polarity, cell–cell interactions, nuclear transfer, haploidization, molecular genetics, developmental genetics, in-vitro fertilization, and stem-cell and cryoconservation technologies. Please note: papers of a technical nature or which involve industrial-scale IVF are not suitable for Zygote and should be submitted elsewhere.

The editors favour work describing fundamental processes in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of animal development, and, in particular, the identification of unifying principles in biology. New technologies, clinical papers, review articles, debates and letters will become prominent features.


All manuscripts must be submitted online at:

Submission of a paper will be taken to imply that it is unpublished and it is not being considered for publication elsewhere. 

There is no formal restriction on length; however, Original Articles and Reviews of less than 15000 words are likely to appear sooner than longer ones. Short Communications should not exceed 1500 words and News and Views Commentaries should not exceed 500 words.

Preparation of manuscripts

Manuscripts must contain continuous line numbering throughout and should be organised as follows:

The title page should include:

  • The title of the article, which should be short (preferably up to 12 words) but informative and accurately reflect the content.
  • Authors’ names and contact details: please list a brief affiliation for each author including country (assigned with superscript numbers) below the author names, and in addition, indicate the corresponding author with an asterisk and in this case provide an email address
  • Word count, including all text but excluding tables, figures and references.

An Abstract of not more than 250 words followed by 5 Keywords, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion (combined Results and Discussion may be used for short papers), Acknowledgements, References, Endnotes, Tables and Figure Legends.

Manuscripts should be prepared using SI units.


Figures should be numbered consecutively as they appear in the text. Any indication of features of special interest should also be included. Figures must be supplied electronically. They must be saved at final publication size and ideally supplied in the following file formats: halftone figures (black & white, and colour) as TIF files at 300 dpi; black & white line figures as TIF or EPS files at 1000–1200 dpi. PDF format is also accepted. When relevant, photographs should be submitted with proposed reduction or magnification indicated by a scale line on or beside, the illustration. The places for insertion into the text should be indicated in the text as ‘Fig. 1’ etc. Legends for all illustrations should be typed together, separately from the main text. There is no charge for online publication of colour photographs or figures. More detailed information is available at:


Tables with concise headings should be placed at the end of the paper. Each table must have a text reference, in the form ‘Table 1’ etc.


References should be cited in the text ‘as Conklin (1905) showed’ or ‘as shown (Conklin, 1905)’. For papers with three or more authors, use et al. A full list of references in alphabetical order should be given at the end of the text: surname of author and initials; year of publication (in parentheses); title of paper; journal or book name (the former being abbreviated in accordance with the World List of Scientific Periodicals); volume number; first and last page of the reference. For books and conference proceedings, the place of publication and publisher (and editor(s) if appropriate) should be included.


You may acknowledge individuals or organisations that provided advice, support (non-financial). Formal financial support and funding should be listed in the following section.

Ethics Statements

Financial Support

Please provide details of the sources of financial support for all authors, including grant numbers. For example, "This work was supported by the Medical research Council (grant number XXXXXXX)". Multiple grant numbers should be separated by a comma and space, and where research was funded by more than one agency the different agencies should be separated by a semi-colon, with "and" before the final funder. Grants held by different authors should be identified as belonging to individual authors by the authors’ initials. For example, "This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (A.B., grant numbers XXXX, YYYY), (C.D., grant number ZZZZ); the Natural Environment Research Council (E.F., grant number FFFF); and the National Institutes of Health (A.B., grant number GGGG), (E.F., grant number HHHH)". Where no specific funding has been provided for research, please provide the following statement: "This research received no specific grant from any funding agency, commercial or not-for-profit sectors."

Conflict of Interest declaration

All authors must include a conflict of interest declaration in their manuscript. This declaration will be subject to editorial review and may be published in the article.

Conflicts of interest are situations that could be perceived to exert an undue influence on the content or publication of an author’s work. They may include, but are not limited to, financial, professional, contractual or personal relationships or situations.

If the manuscript has multiple authors, the author submitting must include a conflict of interest declaration relevant to all contributing authors. Example wording for a declaration is as follows: “Conflict of interest: Author A is employed at company B. Author C owns shares in company D, is on the Board of company E and is a member of organisation F. Author G has received grants from company H.” If no conflicts of interest exist, the declaration should state “Conflict of interest: The author(s) declare none”.

Ethical Standards

Where research involves human and/or animal experimentation, the following statements should be included (as applicable): "The authors assert that all procedures contributing to this work comply with the ethical standards of the relevant national and institutional committees on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008." and "The authors assert that all procedures contributing to this work comply with the ethical standards of the relevant national and institutional guides on the care and use of laboratory animals."

Publication Ethics

Please visit here for information on our ethical guidelines.


Proofs will be sent to the author for checking. Typographical or factual errors only may be changed at proof stage. The publisher reserves the right to charge authors for correction of non-typographical errors.


A PDF offprint of each article will be supplied free to each first named author. Paper offprints may be purchased from the publisher if ordered at proof stage.

Open Access

Authors in Zygote have the option to publish their paper under a fully Open Access agreement, upon payment of a one-off Article Processing Charge. In this case, the final published Version of Record will be made freely available to all in perpetuity under a creative commons license, enabling its re-use and re-distribution. This Open Access option is only offered to authors upon acceptance of an article for publication. For more information on Open Access please see our policy pages.


The policy of Zygote is that authors (or in some cases their employers) retain copyright and grant Zygote a licence to publish their work. In the case of gold open access articles this is a non-exclusive licence. Authors must complete and return an author publishing agreement form (via upload to the journal's submission site) as soon as their article has been accepted for publication; the journal is unable to publish without this. Please download the appropriate publishing agreement here

For open access articles, the form also sets out the Creative Commons licence under which the article is made available to end users: a fundamental principle of open access is that content should not simply be accessible but should also be freely re-usable. Articles will be published under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY) by default. This means that the article is freely available to read, copy and redistribute, and can also be adapted (users can “remix, transform, and build upon” the work) for any commercial or non-commercial purpose, as long as proper attribution is given. Authors can, in the publishing agreement form, choose a different kind of Creative Commons license (including those prohibiting non-commercial and derivative use) if they prefer.

Cambridge Language Editing Service

We suggest that authors whose first language is not English have their manuscripts checked by a native English speaker before submission. This is optional, but will help to ensure that any submissions that reach peer review can be judged exclusively on academic merit. We offer a Cambridge service which you can find out more about here, and suggest that authors contact as appropriate. Please note that use of language editing services is voluntary, and at the author’s own expense. Use of these services does not guarantee that the manuscript will be accepted for publication, nor does it restrict the author to submitting to a Cambridge-published journal.


Zygote now requires that all corresponding authors identify themselves using ORCID when submitting a manuscript to the journal. Joining ORCID is fast, free and you do not need to have a current affiliation. ORCID provides a unique identifier for researchers and, through integration in key research workflows such as publication and grant applications, provides the following benefits:

  • Discoverability: ORCID increases the discoverability of your publications, by enabling smarter publisher systems and by helping readers to reliably find work that you’ve authored.
  • Convenience: As more organisations use ORCID, providing your ID or using it to register for services will automatically link activities to your ORCID profile, and will save you re-keying information multiple times.
  • Keeping track: Your ORCID profile is a neat place to record and display (if you choose) validated information about your research activities.

If you don’t already have an ID, you’ll need to create one if you decide to submit a manuscript to Zygote. You can register for one directly from your user account on ScholarOne or Editorial Manager or via If you already have an ID, please use this when submitting by linking it to your ScholarOne user account. Simply log in to your account using your normal username and password. Edit your account by clicking on your name at the top right of the screen and from the dropdown menu, select 'E-Mail / Name'. Follow the instructions at the top of the screen to update your account.

For more information on ORCID please visit:

Last updated 2 January 2020