GATE Syllabus Life Sciences
SECTION H. CHEMISTRY
Atomic structure and periodicity:
Planck’s quantum theory, wave particle duality, uncertainty principle, quantum
mechanical model of hydrogen atom; electronic configuration of atoms; periodic
table and periodic properties; ionization energy, election affinity,
electronegativity, atomic size.
Structure and bonding: Ionic and
covalent bonding, M.O. and V.B. approaches for diatomic molecules, VSEPR theory
and shape of molecules, hybridisation, resonance, dipole moment, structure
parameters such as bond length, bond angle and bond energy, hydrogen bonding,
van der Waals interactions. Ionic solids, ionic radii, lattice energy
s.p. and d Block Elements: Oxides,
halides and hydrides of alkali and alkaline earth metals, B, Al, Si, N, P, and
S, general characteristics of 3d elements, coordination complexes: valence bond
and crystal field theory, color, geometry and magnetic properties.
Chemical Equilibria: Colligative
properties of solutions, ionic equilibria in solution, solubility product,
common ion effect, hydrolysis of salts, pH, buffer and their applications in
chemical analysis, equilibrium constants (Kc, Kp and Kx) for homogeneous
Kohlrausch law, Half Cell potentials, emf, Nernst equation, galvanic cells,
thermodynamic aspects and their applications.
Reaction Kinetics: Rate constant,
order of reaction, molecularity, activation energy, zero, first and second order
kinetics, catalysis and elementary enzyme reactions.
Thermodynamics: First law,
reversible and irreversible processes, internal energy, enthalpy, Kirchoff’s
equation, heat of reaction, Hess law, heat of formation, Second law, entropy,
free energy, and work function. Gibbs-Helmholtz equation, Clausius-Clapeyron
equation, free energy change and equilibrium constant, Troutons rule, Third law
Basis of Organic Reactions
Mechanism: Elementary treatment of SN1, SN2, E1 and E2 reactions, Hoffmann and
Saytzeff rules, Addition reactions, Markonikoff rule and Kharash effect,
Diels-Alder reaction, aromatic electrophilic substitution, orientation effect as
exemplified by various functional groups. Identification of functional groups by
Acids and bases, electronic and steric effects, optical and geometrical
isomerism, tautomerism, conformers, concept of aromaticity
Organization of life. Importance of
water. Cell structure and organelles. Structure and function of biomolecules:
Amino acids, Carbohydrates, Lipids, Proteins and Nucleic acids. Biochemical
separation techniques and characterization: ion exchange, size exclusion and
affinity chromatography, electrophoresis, UV-visible, fluorescence and Mass
spectrometry. Protein structure, folding and function: Myoglobin, Hemoglobin,
Lysozyme, Ribonuclease A, Carboxypeptidase and Chymotrypsin. Enzyme kinetics
including its regulation and inhibition, Vitamins and Coenzymes.
Metabolism and bioenergetics.
Generation and utilization of ATP. Metabolic pathways and their regulation:
glycolysis, TCA cycle, pentose phosphate pathway, oxidative phosphorylation,
gluconeogenesis, glycogen and fatty acid metabolism. Metabolism of Nitrogen
containing compounds: nitrogen fixation, amino acids and nucleotides.
Photosynthesis: the Calvin cycle.
Biological membranes. Transport
across membranes. Signal transduction; hormones and neurotransmitters.
DNA replication, transcription and
translation. Biochemical regulation of gene expression. Recombinant DNA
technology and applications: PCR, site directed mutagenesis and DNAmicroarray.
Immune system. Active and passive
immunity. Complement system. Antibody structure, function and diversity. Cells
of the immune system: T, B and macrophages. T and B cell activation. Major
histocompatibilty complex. T cell receptor. Immunological techniques:
Immunodiffusion, immunoelectrophoresis, RIA and ELISA.
Advanced techniques in gene
expression and analysis: PCR and RT-PCR, microarray technology, DNA
fingerprinting and recombinant DNA technology; prokaryotic and eukaryotic
expression systems; Vectors: plasmids, phages, cosmids and BAC.
Architecture of plant genome; plant
tissue culture techniques; methods of gene transfer into plant cells and
development of transgenic plants; manipulation of phenotypic traits in plants;
plant cell fermentations and production of secondary metabolites using
suspension/immobilized cell culture; expression of animal protein in plants;
genetically modified crops.
Animal cell metabolism and
regulation; cell cycle; primary cell culture; nutritional requirements for
animal cell culture; techniques for mass culture of animal cell lines;
application of animal cell culture for production of vaccines, growth hormones;
interferons, cytokines and therapeutic proteins; hybridoma technology and gene
knockout; stem cells and its application in organ synthesis; gene therapy;
transgenic animals and molecular pharming.
Industrial bioprocesses: microbial
production of organic acids, amino acids, proteins, polysaccharides, lipids,
polyhydroxyalkanoates, antibiotics and pharmaceuticals; methods and applications
of immobilization of cells and enzymes; kinetics of soluble and immobilized
enzymes; biosensors; biofuels; biopesticides; environmental bioremediation.
Microbial growth kinetics; batch,
fed-batch and continuous culture of microbial cells; media for industrial
fermentations; sterilization of air and media, design and operation of stirred
tank, airlift, plug flow, packed bed, fluidized bed, membrane and hollow fibre
reactors; aeration and agitation in aerobic fermentations; bioprocess
calculations based on material and energy balance; Down stream processing in
industrial biotechnology: filtration, precipitation, centrifugation, cell
disintegration, solvent extraction, and chromatographic separations, membrane
filtration, aqueous two phase separation.
proteomics and computational biology.
SECTION K. BOTANY
Plant Systematics: Systems of
classification (non-phylogenetic vs. phylogenetic - outline), plant groups,
Plant Anatomy: Plant cell
structure, organization, organelles, cytoskeleton, cell wall and membranes;
anatomy of root, stem and leaves, meristems, vascular system, their ontogeny,
structure and functions, secondary growth in plants and stellar organization.
Morphogenesis & Development:
Cell cycle, cell division, life cycle of an angiosperm, pollination,
fertilization, embryogenesis, seed formation, seed storage proteins, seed
dormancy and germination.
Concept of cellular totipotency,
clonal propagation; organogenesis and somatic embryogenesis, artificial seed,
somaclonal variation, secondary metabolism in plant cell culture, embryo
culture, in vitro fertilization.
Physiology and Biochemistry: Plant
water relations, transport of minerals and solutes, stress physiology, stomatal
physiology, signal transduction, N2 metabolism, photosynthesis,
photorespiration; respiration, Flowering: photoperiodism and vernalization,
biochemical mechanisms involved in flowering; molecular mechanism of senencensce
and aging, biosynthesis, mechanism of action and physiological effects of plant
growth regulators, structure and function of biomolecules, (proteins,
carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acid), enzyme kinetics.
Genetics: Principles of Mendelian
inheritance, linkage, recombination, genetic mapping; extrachromosomal
inheritance; prokaryotic and eukaryotic genome organization, regulation of gene
expression, gene mutation and repair, chromosomal aberrations (numerical and
Plant Breeding and Genetic
Modification: Principles, methods – selection, hybridization, heterosis; male
sterility, genetic maps and molecular markers, sporophytic and gametophytic self
incompability, haploidy, triploidy, somatic cell hybridization, marker-assisted
selection, gene transfer methods viz. direct and vector-mediated, plastid
transformation, transgenic plants and their application in agriculture,
molecular pharming, plantibodies.
Economic Botany: A general account
of economically and medicinally important plants- cereals, pulses, plants
yielding fibers, timber, sugar, beverages, oils, rubber, pigments, dyes, gums,
drugs and narcotics. Economic importance of algae, fungi, lichen and bacteria.
Plant Pathology: Nature and
classification of plant diseases, diseases of important crops caused by fungi,
bacteria and viruses, and their control measures, mechanism(s) of pathogenesis
and resistance, molecular detection of pathogens; plant-microbe beneficial
Ecology and Environment: Ecosystems
– types, dynamics, degradation, ecological succession; food chains and energy
flow; vegetation types of the world, pollution and global warming, speciation
and extinction, conservation strategies, cryopreservation, phytoremediation.
Historical Perspective: Discovery
of microbial world; Landmark discoveries relevant to the field of microbiology;
Controversy over spontaneous generation; Role of microorganisms in
transformation of organic matter and in the causation of diseases.
Methods in Microbiology: Pure
culture techniques; Theory and practice of sterilization; Principles of
microbial nutrition; Enrichment culture techniques for isolation of
microorganisms; Light-, phase contrast- and electron-microscopy.
Microbial Taxonomy and Diversity:
Bacteria, Archea and their broad classification; Eukaryotic microbes: Yeasts,
molds and protozoa; Viruses and their classification; Molecular approaches to
Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells:
Structure and Function: Prokaryotic Cells: cell walls, cell membranes,
mechanisms of solute transport across membranes, Flagella and Pili, Capsules,
Cell inclusions like endospores and gas vesicles; Eukaryotic cell organelles:
Endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, mitochondria and chloroplasts.
Microbial Growth: Definition of
growth; Growth curve; Mathematical expression of exponential growth phase;
Measurement of growth and growth yields; Synchronous growth; Continuous culture;
Effect of environmental factors on growth.
Control of Micro-organisms: Effect
of physical and chemical agents; Evaluation of effectiveness of antimicrobial
Microbial Metabolism: Energetics:
redox reactions and electron carriers; An overview of metabolism; Glycolysis;
Pentose-phosphate pathway; Entner-Doudoroff pathway; Glyoxalate pathway; The
citric acid cycle; Fermentation; Aerobic and anaerobic respiration;
Chemolithotrophy; Photosynthesis; Calvin cycle; Biosynthetic pathway for fatty
acids synthesis; Common regulatory mechanisms in synthesis of amino acids;
Regulation of major metabolic pathways.
Microbial Diseases and Host
Pathogen Interaction: Normal microbiota; Classification of infectious diseases;
Reservoirs of infection; Nosocomial infection; Emerging infectious diseases;
Mechanism of microbial pathogenicity; Nonspecific defense of host; Antigens and
antibodies; Humoral and cell mediated immunity; Vaccines; Immune deficiency;
Human diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, and pathogenic fungi.
characteristics of antimicrobial drugs; Antibiotics: Classification, mode of
action and resistance; Antifungal and antiviral drugs.
Microbial Genetics: Types of
mutation; UV and chemical mutagens; Selection of mutants; Ames test for
mutagenesis; Bacterial genetic system: transformation, conjugation,
transduction, recombination, plasmids, transposons; DNA repair; Regulation of
gene expression: repression and induction; Operon model; Bacterial genome with
special reference to E.coli; Phage λ and its life cycle; RNA phages;
RNA viruses; Retroviruses; Basic concept of microbial genomics.
Microbial Ecology: Microbial
interactions; Carbon, sulphur and nitrogen cycles; Soil microorganisms
associated with vascular plants.
SECTION M. ZOOLOGY
Animal world: Animal diversity,
distribution, systematics and classification of animals, phylogenetic
Evolution: Origin and history of
life on earth, theories of evolution, natural selection, adaptation, speciation.
Genetics: Principles of
inheritance, molecular basis of heredity, mutations, cytoplasmic inheritance,
linkage and mapping of genes.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology:
Nucleic acids, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates; replication, transcription
and translation; regulation of gene expression, organization of genome, Kreb’s
cycle, glycolysis, enzyme catalysis, hormones and their actions, vitamins.
Cell Biology: Structure of cell,
cellular organelles and their structure and function, cell cycle, cell division,
chromosomes and chromatin structure. Eukaryotic gene organization and expression
(Basic principles of signal transduction).
Animal Anatomy and Physiology:
Comparative physiology, the respiratory system, circulatory system, digestive
system, the nervous system, the excretory system, the endocrine system, the
reproductive system, the skeletal system, osmoregulation.
Parasitology and Immunology: Nature
of parasite, host-parasite relation, protozoan and helminthic parasites, the
immune response, cellular and humoral immune response, evolution of the immune
Development Biology: Embryonic
development, cellular differentiation, organogenesis, metamorphosis, genetic
basis of development, stem cells.
Ecology: The ecosystem, habitats,
the food chain, population dynamics, species diversity, zoogerography,
biogeochemical cycles, conservation biology.
Animal Behaviour: Types of
behaviours, courtship, mating and territoriality, instinct, learning and memory,
social behaviour across the animal taxa, communication, pheromones, evolution of