(Syllabus) Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) Syllabus | Life Science

Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) Syllabus | Life Science

Chemistry (Compulsory)

Atomic structure and periodicity: Quantum chemistry; 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 (Born-Haber Cycle).

s.p. and d Block Elements: Oxides, halides and hydrides of alkali and alkaline earth metals, B, Al, S, N, P and S, silicones, 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.

Electrochemistry: Conductance, 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, equilibrium constants (Kc, Kp and Kx) for homogeneous reactions, catalysis and elementary enzyme reactions. Thermodynamics: First law, reversible and irreversible processes, internal energy, enthalpy, Kirchoffs 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 of thermodynamics.

Mechanistic Basis of Organic Reactions: 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. Structure-Reactivity Correlations: Acids and bases, electronic and steric effects, optical and geometrical isomerism, tautomerism, concept of aromaticity


Organization of life. Importance of water. Cell structure and organelles. Structure and function of biomolecules: Carbohydrates, Lipids, Proteins and Nucleic acids. Biochemical separation techniques. Spectroscopic methods; UV-visible and fluorescence. Protein structure, folding and function: Myoglobin, Hemoglobin, Lysozyme, ribonuclease A, Carboxypeptidase and Chymotrypsin. Enzyme kinetics and regulation, Coenzymes.

Metabolism and bioenergitics. Generation and utilization of ATP. Photosynthesis. Major metabolic pathways and their regulation. 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. Genomics and Proteomics.

The immune system. Active and passive immunity. Complement system. Antobody 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.


Recombinant DNA technology for the production of therapeutic proteins. Micro array technology. Heterologous protein expression systems in bacteria, yeast etc.

Architecture of plant genome; plant tissue culture techniques; methods of gene transfer into plant cells; manipulation of phenotypic traits in plants; plant cell fermentations and production of secondary metabolites using suspension/ immobilized cell culture; methods for plant micro propagation; crop improvement and development of transgenic plants. Expression of animal proteins in plants.

Animal cell metabolism and regulation; cell cycle; primary cell culture; nutritional requirements for animal cell culture; techniques for the mass culture of animal cell lines; production of vaccines; growth hormones and interferons using animal cell culture; cytokines- production and therapeutic uses; hybridoma technology; vectors for gene transfer and expression in animal cells. Transgenic animals and molecular pharming.

Microbial production of industrial enzymes; methods for immobilization of enzymes; kinetics of soluble and immobilized enzymes; application of soluble and immobilized enzymes; enzyme-based sensors.

Microbial growth kinetics; batch, fed batch and continuous culture of microbial cells; media for industrial fermentations; sterilization of air and media; design features and operation of stirred tank, air-lift and fluidized bed reactors; aeration and agitation in aerobic fermentations; recovery and purification of fermentation products- filtration, centrifugation, cell disintegration, solvent extraction and chromatographic separations; industrial fermentations for the production of ethanol, citric acid, lysine, penicillin and other biomolecules; simple calculations based on material and energy balance of fermentation processes; application of microbes in the management of domestic and industrial wastes.


Anatomy: Roots, stem and leaves of land plants, meristems, vascular system, their ontogeny, structure and functions.

Plant cell structure, organisation, organelles, cytoskeleton, cell wall and membranes.

Development: Cell cycle, cell division, senescence, hormonal regulation of growth; life cycle of an angiosperm, pollination, fertilization, embryogenesis, seed formation, seed storage proteins, seed dormancy and germination. Concept of cellular totipotency, organogenesis and somatic embryogenesis, somaclonal variation, embryo culture, in vitro fertilization.

Physiology and Biochemistry: Plant water relations, transport of minerals and solutes, N2 metabolism, proteins and nucleic acid, respiration, photophysiology, photosynthesis, photorespiration; biosynthesis, mechanism of action and physiological effects of plant growth regulators.

Genetics: Principles of Mendelian inheritance, linkage, recombination and genetic mapping; extrachromosomal inheritance; eukaryotic genome organization (chromatin structure) and regulation of gene expression, gene mutation, chromosome aberrations (numerical and structural), transposons.

Plant Breeding: Principles, methods – selection, hybridization, heterosis; male sterility, self and inter-specific incompatibility; haploidy; somatic cell hybridization; molecular marker-assisted selection; gene transfer methods viz. direct and vector-mediated, transgenic plants and their applications in agriculture.

Economic Botany: Economically important plants – cereals, pulses, plants yielding fiber, timber, sugar, beverages, oils, rubber, dyes, gums, drugs and narcotics – a general account.

Systematics: Systems of classification (non-phylogenetic vs. phylogenetic – outline), plant groups, molecular systematics.

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 interactions.

Ecology and Plant Geography: Ecosystems – types, dynamics, degradation, ecological succession; food chains; vegetation types of the world; pollution and global warming; speciation and extinction, conservation strategies, cryopreservation.

Historical perspective – Discovery of the. microbial world; 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; Construction of culture media; Enrichment culture techniques for isolation of chemoautotrophs, chemoheterotrophs and photosynthetic microorganisms.

Microbial evolution, systematics and taxonomy – Evolution of earth and earliest life forms; Primitive organisms and their metabolic strategies; New approaches to bacterial taxonomic classification including ribotyping; Nomenclature. Microbial diversity- Bacteria, archea and their broad classification; Eukaryotic microbes, yeast, fungi, slime mold and protozoa; Viruses and their classification.

Microbial growth -The definition of growth, mathematical expression of growth, growth curve, measurement of growth and growth yields; Synchronous growth; Continuous culture.

Nutrition and metabolism – Overview of metabolism; Microbial nutrition; Energy classes of microorganisms; Culture media; Energetics, modes of ATP generation; ATP generation by heterotrophs; Fermentation; Glycolysis; Respiration; The citric acid cycle; Electron transport systems; Alternate modes of energy generation; Pathways (anabolism) in the biosynthesis of amjno acids, purines, pyrimidines and fatty acids.

Metabolic diversity among microorganisms – Photosynthesis in microorganisms; Role of chlorophylls, carotenoids and phycobilins; Calvin cycle; Chemolithotrophy; Hydrogen- iron- nitrite-oxidizing bacteria; Nitrate and sulfate reduction; Methanogenesis and acetogenesis.

Prokaryotic cells: structure-function – Cells walls of eubacteria (peptidoglycan) and related molecules; Outer-membrane of gram-negative bacteria; Cell wall and cell membrane synthesis; Flagella and motility; Cell inclusions like endospores, gas vesicles.

Microbial diseases and host parasite relationships – Normal microflora of skin; Oral cavity; Gastrointestinal tract; Entry of pathogens into the host; Infectious disease transmission; Respiratory infections caused by bacteria and viruses; Tuberculosis; Sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS; Diseases transmitted by animals (Rabies, plague), insects and ticks (rikettsias, Lyme disease, malaria); Food and water borne diseases; Public health and water quality; Pahtogenic fungi; Emerging and resurgent infectious diseases.

Chemotherapy/Antibiotics – Antimicrobial agents; Sulfa drugs; Antibiotics; Pencillins and cephalosporins; Broad-spectrum antibiotics; Antibiotics from prokaryotes; Antifungal antibiotics; Mode of action; Resistance to antibiotics.

Microbial genetics – Genes, mutation and mutagenesis – UV and chemical mutagnes; Types of mutations; Ames test for mutagenesis; Methods of genetic analysis. Bacterial genetic system – Transformation; Conjugation; Transduction; Recombination; Plasmids and Transposons; Bacterial genetic map with reference to £. coli. Viruses and their genetic system – Phage X and its life cycle; RNA phages; RNA viruses; Retroviruses; Genetic systems of yeast and Neurospora; Extrachromosomal inheritance and mitochondrial genetics; Basic concept of genomics.

Animal world: Animal diversity, distribution, systematic and classification of animals, the phylogenetic relationship.

Evolution: Origin of life, history of life on earth, evolutionary theories, natural selection, adaptation, speciation.

Genetics: Principles of inheritance, molecular basis of heredity, the genetic material, transmission of genetic material, mutations, cytoplasmic inheritance.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Nucleic acids, proteins and other biological macromolecules. Replication, transcription and translation, regulation of gene expression, organization of genome, Kreb’s cycle, glycolysis, enzyme catalysis, hormones and their action.

Cell Biology: Structure of cell, cellular organelles and their structure and function, cell cycle, cell division, cellular differentiation, chromosome and chromatin structure. Eukaryotic gene organisation and expression. 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 system.

Development Biology: Embryonic development, cellular differentiation, organogenesis, metamorphosis, genetic basis of development.

Ecology: The ecosystem, habitats the food chain, population dynamics, species diversity, zoogeography, 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 animal behaviour.