The life sciences comprise the fields of science that involve the scientific study of living organisms – such as microorganisms, plants, animals, and human beings – as well as related considerations like bioethics. While biology remains the centerpiece of the life sciences, technological advances in molecular biology and biotechnology have led to a burgeoning of specializations and interdisciplinary fields.
The life sciences are helpful in improving the quality and standard of life. They have applications in health, agriculture, medicine, and the pharmaceutical and food science industries.
Gate 2015 Syllabus for Life Sciences (XL):
- Section H: Chemistry
- Section I: Biochemistry
- Section J: Botany
- Section K: Microbiology
- Section L: Zoology
- Section M: Food Technology
Section H: Chemistry (Compulsory)
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 (Born-Haber Cycle).
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.
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 reactions,
Conductance, Kohlrausch law, Half Cell potentials, emf, Nernst equation, galvanic cells, thermodynamic aspects and their applications.
Rate constant, order of reaction, molecularity, activation energy, zero, first and second order kinetics, catalysis and elementary enzyme reactions.
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 of thermodynamics.
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 chemical tests
Acids and bases, electronic and steric effects, optical and geometrical isomerism, tautomerism, conformers, concept of aromaticity
Section I: Biochemistry
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 DNA-microarray.
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.
Section J: Botany
Systems of classification (non-phylogenetic vs. phylogenetic – outline), plant groups, molecular systematics.
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.
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 structural), transposons.
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.
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.
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 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.
Section K: Microbiology
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 microbial taxonomy.
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.
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 agents.
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.
General characteristics of antimicrobial drugs; Antibiotics: Classification, mode of action and resistance; Antifungal and antiviral drugs.
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.
Section L: Zoology
Animal diversity, distribution, systematics and classification of animals, phylogenetic relationships.
Origin and history of life on earth, theories of evolution, natural selection, adaptation, speciation.
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.
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 system.
Embryonic development, cellular differentiation, organogenesis, metamorphosis, genetic basis of development, stem cells.
The ecosystem, habitats, the food chain, population dynamics, species diversity, zoogerography, biogeochemical cycles, conservation biology.
Types of behaviours, courtship, mating and territoriality, instinct, learning and memory, social behaviour across the animal taxa, communication, pheromones, evolution of animal behaviour.
Section M: Food Technology
Food Chemistry and Nutrition:
Carbohydrates: Structure and functional properties of mono- oligo-polysaccharides including starch, cellulose, pectic substances and dietary fibre;
Proteins: Classification and structure of proteins in food;
Lipids: Classification and structure of lipids, Rancidity of fats, Polymerization and polymorphism;
Pigments: Carotenoids, chlorophylls, anthocyanins, tannins and myoglobin;
Food flavours: Terpenes, esters, ketones and quinones;
Enzymes: Specificity, Kinetics and inhibition, Coenzymes, Enzymatic and non-enzymatic browning;
Nutrition: Balanced diet, Essential amino acids and fatty acids, PER, Water soluble and fat soluble vitamins, Role of minerals in nutrition, Antinutrients, Nutrition deficiency diseases.
Characteristics of microorganisms: Morphology, structure and detection of bacteria, yeast and mold in food, Spores and vegetative cells;
Microbial growth in food: Intrinsic and extrinsic factors, Growth and death kinetics, serial dilution method for quantification;
Food spoilage: Contributing factors, Spoilage bacteria, Microbial spoilage of milk and milk products, meat and meat products;
Foodborne disease: Toxins produced by Staphylococcus, Clostridium and Aspergillus; Bacterial pathogens: Salmonella, Bacillus, Listeria, Escherichia coli, Shigella, Campylobacter;
Fermented food: Buttermilk, yoghurt, cheese, sausage, alcoholic beverage, vinegar, sauerkraut and soya sauce.
Food Products Technology:
Processing principles: Canning, chilling, freezing, dehydration, control of water activity, CA and MA storage, fermentation, hurdle technology, addition of preservatives and food additives, Food packaging, cleaning in place and food laws.;
Grain products processing: Milling of rice, wheat, and maize, parboiling of paddy, production of bread, biscuits, extruded products and breakfast cereals, Solvent extraction, refining and hydrogenation of oil;
Fruits, vegetables and plantation products processing: Extraction, clarification concentration and packaging of fruit juice, Production of jam, jelly, marmalade, squash, candies, and pickles, pectin from fruit waste, tea, coffee, chocolate and essential oils from spices;
Milk and milk products processing: Pasteurized and sterilized milk, cream, butter, ghee, ice-cream, cheese and milk powder;
Animal products processing: Drying and canning of fish, post mortem changes, tenderization and freezing of meat, egg powder.
Mass and energy balance; Momentum transfer: Flow rate and pressure drop relationships for Newtonian fluids flowing through pipe, Characteristics of non-Newtonian fluids – generalized viscosity coefficient and Reynolds number, Flow of compressible fluid, Flow measurement, Pumps and compressors;
Heat transfer: Heat transfer by conduction, convection, radiation, boiling and condensation, Unsteady state heat transfer in simple geometry, NTU- effectiveness relationship of co-current and counter current double pipe heat exchanger;
Mass transfer: Molecular diffusion and Fick’s Law, Steady state mass transfer, Convective mass transfer, Permeability of films and laminates;
Mechanical operations: Energy requirement and rate of operations involved in size reduction of solids, high pressure homogenization, filtration, centrifugation, settling, sieving, flow through porous bed, agitation of liquid, solid-solid mixing, and single screw extrusion;
Thermal operations: Energy requirement and rate of operations involved in process time evaluation in batch and continuous sterilization, evaporation of liquid foods, hot air drying of solids, spray and freeze-drying, freezing and crystallization;
Mass transfer operations: Properties of air-water vapor mixture;
Humidification and dehumidification operations.