[PDF] GATE Syllabus for Life Sciences (XL)

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GATE 2021 Life Sciences (XL) Syllabus: The XL paper is of a general nature. The paper consists of 3 parts. The first part of the XL paper is General Aptitude and the second part is Section P – Chemistry which is compulsory for the candidates. The third part of the XL paper comprises of Sections Q to U and candidates have to choose any two of them. Candidates can see the syllabus for Life Science from this page.

Table of Contents

GATE 2021 Life Sciences Syllabus

Section Distribution of MarksTotal MarksTypes of questions
General Aptitude (GA)5 questions of 1-mark each
5 questions of 2-marks each

   15 marks 

     MCQs
Section P – Chemistry (compulsory)5 questions of 1-mark each
10 questions of 2-marks each

   25 marks 

MCQs and NATs
*Sections Q to U(Any two)10 questions of 1-mark each 
10 questions of 2-marks each

   30 marks 

MCQs and NATs
Type of questionNegative marking for wrong answers.Marking for correct answer
MCQs⅓ for 1 mark questions⅔ for 2 marks questions1 or 2 marks
NATsNo negative marking 1 or 2 marks

Exam Mode: The exam will be conducted online and it will be a Computer-Based Test.

Duration: 3 hours

Types of questions: MCQs and NAT

Total questions: 65 questions

Total marks: 100 marks

Negative Marking: For MCQs only

GATE Syllabus for Life Sciences (XL) PDF Download Now

GATE 2021 General Aptitude Syllabus

The General Aptitude section is common in all the 25 subjects of GATE 2021. The section is divided into Verbal Ability & Numerical Ability.

Verbal Ability

  • English grammar
  • Sentence completion,
  • Instructions
  • Verbal analogies
  • Word groups
  • Critical reasoning
  • Verbal deduction

Numerical Ability

  • Numerical computation
  • Numerical reasoning
  • Numerical estimation
  • Data interpretation

GATE General Aptitude Syllabus Download Now

GATE 2021 the Second Part Syllabus

XL-P : Chemistry
XL-Q : BioChemistry
XL-R : Botany
XL- S : Microbiology
XL-T : Zoology
XL- U: Food Technology

GATE XL-P Chemistry Syllabus – 25 Mark

Unit 1: Atomic Structure and Periodicity
  • Planck’s quantum theory
  • Wave particle duality
  • Uncertainty principle
  • Quantum mechanical model of hydrogen atom
  • Electronic configuration of atoms and ions
  • Periodic table and periodic properties −
    • Ionization energy
    • Electron affinity
    • Electronegativity
    • Atomic size
Unit 2: Structure and Bonding
  • Ionic and covalent bonding
  • MO and VB approaches for diatomic molecules
  • VSEPR theory and shape of molecules
  • Hybridization
  • Resonance
  • Dipole moment
  • Structure parameters such as bond length
  • Bond angle and bond energy
  • Hydrogen bonding and van der Waals interactions
  • Ionic solids
  • Ionic radii and lattice energy (Born-Haber cycle)
  • HSAB principle
Unit 3: s, p and d Block Elements
  • Oxides
  • Halides and hydrides of alkali
  • 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
    • Magnetic properties
    • Isomerism
Unit 4: Chemical Equilibria
  • Colligative properties of solutions, ionic equilibria in solution, solubility product, common ion effect, hydrolysis of salts, pH, buffer and their applications
  • Equilibrium constants (Kc, Kp and Kx) for homogeneous reactions
Unit 5: Electrochemistry
  • Conductance
  • Kohlrausch law
  • Cell potentials
  • EMF
  • Nernst equation
  • Galvanic cells
  • Thermodynamic aspects and their applications
Unit 6: Reaction Kinetics
  • Rate constant
  • order of reaction
  • molecularity
  • activation energy
  • Zero, first and second order kinetics
  • catalysis and elementary enzyme reactions
Unit 7: Thermodynamics
  • First law of Thermodynamics −
    • Reversible and irreversible processes
    • Internal energy
    • Enthalpy
    • Kirchhoff equation
    • Heat of reaction
    • Hess’s law
    • Heat of formation
  • Second law −
    • Entropy
    • Free energy and work function
  • Gibbs-Helmholtz equation
  • Clausius-Clapeyron equation
  • Free energy change
  • Equilibrium constant and Trouton’s rule
  • Third law of thermodynamics
Unit 8: Structure-Reactivity Correlations and Organic Reaction Mechanisms
  • Acids and bases, electronic and steric effects, optical and geometrical isomerism, tautomerism, conformers and concept of aromaticity
  • Elementary treatment of SN1, SN2, E1 and E2 reactions, Hoffmann and Saytzeff rules, addition reactions, Markownikoff rule and Kharash effect
  • Aromatic electrophilic substitutions, orientation effect as exemplified by various functional groups
  • Diels-Alder, Wittig and hydroboration reactions
  • Identification of functional groups by chemical tests

GATE Mock Test For Chemistry (XL-P) 2021 – Free Online Test

GATE Section-XL-Q Biochemistry Syllabus

Unit: 1
  • Organization of life
  • Importance of water
  • Structure and function of biomolecules −
    • Amino acids
    • Carbohydrates
    • Lipids
    • Proteins
    • Nucleic acids
  • Protein structure, folding and function −
    • Myoglobin
    • Hemoglobin
    • Lysozyme
    • Ribonuclease A
    • Carboxypeptidase
    • Chymotrypsin
Unit: 2
  • 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
    • Fatty acid metabolism
  • Metabolism of Nitrogen containing compounds −
    • Nitrogen fixation
    • Amino acids
    • Nucleotides
  • Photosynthesis −
    • Calvin cycle
Unit: 3
  • Biochemical separation techniques −
    • Ion exchange
    • Size exclusion and affinity chromatography
    • Characterization of biomolecules by electrophoresis
    • UV-visible and fluorescence spectroscopy and Mass spectrometry
Unit: 4
  • Cell structure and organelles
  • Biological membranes
  • Transport across membranes
  • Signal transduction
  • Hormones and neurotransmitters
Unit: 5
  • DNA replication, transcription and translation
  • Biochemical regulation of gene expression
  • Recombinant DNA technology and applications −
    • PCR, site directed mutagenesis and DNA-microarray
Unit: 6
  • 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
    • ELISA

GATE XL-R Botany Syllabus

Unit 1: Plant Systematics
  • Major systems of classification
  • Plant groups
  • Phylogenetic relationships
  • Molecular systematics
Unit 2: Plant Anatomy
  • Plant cell structure and its components −
    • Cell wall and membranes
    • Organization
    • Organelles
    • Cytoskeleton
    • Anatomy of root
    • Stem and leaves
    • Floral parts
    • Embryo and young seedlings
    • Meristems
    • Vascular system
    • Their ontogeny
    • Structure and functions
    • Secondary growth in plants and stellar organization
Unit 3: 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
Unit 4: 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 senescence 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
Unit 5: 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 structural)
    • Transposons
Unit 6: Plant Breeding and Genetic Modification
  • Principles, methods – selection, hybridization, heterosis, male sterility, genetic maps and molecular markers
  • Sporophytic and gametophytic self-incompatibility
  • 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
Unit 7: 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
    • Narcotics
  • Economic importance of −
    • Algae
    • Fungi
    • Lichen
    • Bacteria
Unit 8: Plant Pathology
  • Nature and classification of plant diseases −
    • Diseases of important crops caused by fungi, bacteria, nematodes and viruses, and their control measures, mechanism(s) of pathogenesis and resistance, molecular detection of pathogens
  • Plant-microbe beneficial interactions
Unit 9: 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

GATE Section-XL-S Microbiology Syllabus

Unit 1: 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
Unit 2: 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
Unit 3: Microbial Taxonomy and Diversity
  • Bacteria, Archaea and their broad classification
  • Eukaryotic microbes: Yeasts, molds and protozoa
  • Viruses and their classification
  • Molecular approaches to microbial taxonomy
Unit 4: 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
    • Chloroplasts
Unit 5: 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
Unit 6: Control of Micro-Organisms
  • Effect of physical and chemical agents
  • Evaluation of effectiveness of antimicrobial agents
Unit 7: 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
Unit 8: 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
Unit 9: Chemotherapy/Antibiotics
  • General characteristics of antimicrobial drugs
  • Antibiotics: Classification, mode of action and resistance
  • Antifungal and antiviral drugs
Unit 10: 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
Unit 11: Microbial Ecology
  • Microbial interactions
  • Carbon, Sulphur and Nitrogen Cycles
  • Soil microorganisms associated with vascular plants

GATE Section-XL-T Zoology Syllabus

Unit 1: Animal World
  • Animal diversity
  • Distribution
  • systematics and classification of animals
  • phylogenetic relationships
Unit 2: Evolution
  • Origin and history of life on earth
  • Theories of evolution
  • Natural selection
  • Adaptation
  • Speciation
Unit 3: Genetics
  • Basic principles of inheritance
  • Molecular basis of heredity
  • Sex determination and sex-linked characteristics
  • Cytoplasmic inheritance
  • Linkage
  • Recombination and mapping of genes in eukaryotes
  • Population genetics
Unit 4: 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
Unit 5: Cell Biology
  • Structure of cell
  • Cellular organelles and their structure and function
  • Cell cycle
  • Cell division
  • Chromosomes and chromatin structure
Unit 6: Gene Expression in Eukaryotes
  • Eukaryotic gene organization and expression (Basic principles of signal transduction)
Unit 7: Animal Anatomy and Physiology
  • Comparative physiology
  • Respiratory system
  • Circulatory system
  • Digestive system
  • Nervous system
  • Excretory system
  • Endocrine system
  • Reproductive system
  • Skeletal system
  • Osmoregulation
Unit 8: 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
Unit 9: Development Biology
  • Embryonic development
  • Cellular differentiation
  • Organogenesis
  • Metamorphosis
  • Genetic basis of development
  • Stem cells
Unit 10: Ecology
  • The ecosystem
  • Habitats
  • Food chain
  • Population dynamics
  • Species diversity
  • Zoogeography
  • Biogeochemical cycles
  • Conservation biology
Unit 11: Animal Behaviour
  • Types of behaviours
  • Courtship
  • Mating and territoriality
  • Instinct
  • Learning and memory
  • Social behaviour across the animal taxa
  • Communication
  • Pheromones
  • Evolution of animal behavior

GATE XL-U Food Technology Syllabus

Unit 1: Food Chemistry and Nutrition
  • Carbohydrates −
    • Structure and functional properties of mono-, oligo-, & polysaccharides including starch, cellulose, pectic substances and dietary fibre
    • Gelatinization and retrogradation of starch
  • Proteins −
    • Classification and structure of proteins in food
    • Biochemical changes in post mortem and tenderization of muscles
  • Lipids −
    • Classification and structure of lipids, rancidity, polymerization and polymorphism
  • Pigments −
    • Carotenoids
    • Chlorophylls
    • Anthocyanins
    • Tannins
    • Myoglobin
  • Food flavours −
    • Terpenes
    • Esters
    • Aldehydes
    • Ketones
    • Quinines
  • Enzymes −
    • Specificity
    • Simple and inhibition kinetics
    • Coenzymes
    • Enzymatic and nonenzymatic browning
  • Nutrition −
    • Balanced diet
    • Essential amino acids and essential fatty acids
    • Protein efficiency ratio
    • Water soluble and fat soluble vitamins
    • Role of minerals in nutrition
    • Co-factors
    • Anti-nutrients
    • Nutraceuticals
    • Nutrient deficiency diseases
  • Chemical and biochemical changes −
    • changes occur in foods during different processing
Unit 2: Food Microbiology
  • Characteristics of microorganisms −
    • Morphology of bacteria, yeast, mold and actinomycetes
    • Spores and vegetative cells
    • Gram-staining
  • Microbial growth −
    • Growth and death kinetics
    • Serial dilution technique
  • Food spoilage −
    • Spoilage microorganisms in different food products including milk, fish, meat, egg, cereals and their products
  • Toxins from microbes −
    • Pathogens and non-pathogens including Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Shigella, Escherichia, Bacillus, Clostridium, and Aspergillus genera
  • Fermented foods and beverages −
    • Curd, yoghurt, cheese, pickles, soya-sauce, sauerkraut, idli, dosa, vinegar, alcoholic beverages and sausage
Unit 3: Food Products Technology
  • Processing principles − thermal processing, chilling, freezing, dehydration, addition of preservatives and food additives, irradiation, fermentation, hurdle technology, intermediate moisture foods
  • Food pack aging and storage − packaging materials, aseptic packaging, controlled and modified atmosphere storage
  • Cereal processing and products − milling of rice, wheat, and maize, parboiling of paddy, bread, biscuits, extruded products and ready to eat breakfast cereals
  • Oil processing − expelling, solvent extraction, refining and hydrogenation
  • Fruits and vegetables processing − extraction, clarification, concentration and packaging of fruit juice, jam, jelly, marmalade, squash, candies, tomato sauce, ketchup, and puree, potato chips, pickles
  • Plantation crops processing and products − tea, coffee, cocoa, spice, extraction of essential oils and oleoresins from spices
  • Milk and milk products processing − pasteurization and sterilization, cream, butter, ghee, ice-cream, cheese and milk powder
  • Processing of animal products − drying, canning, and freezing of fish and meat; production of egg powder
  • Waste utilization − pectin from fruit wastes, uses of by-products from rice milling.
  • Food standards and quality maintenance − FPO, PFA, Agmark, ISI, HACCP, food plant sanitation and cleaning in place (CIP)
Unit 4: Food Engineering
  • Mass and energy balance; Momentum transfer − Flow rate and pressure drop relationships for Newtonian fluids flowing through pipe, Reynolds number
  • Heat transfer − heat transfer by conduction, convection, radiation, heat exchangers
  • Mass transfer − molecular diffusion and Fick’s law, conduction and convective mass transfer, permeability through single and multilayer films
  • Mechanical operations − size reduction of solids, high pressure homogenization, filtration, centrifugation, settling, sieving, mixing & agitation of liquid
  • Thermal operations − thermal sterilization, evaporation of liquid foods, hot air drying of solids, spray and freeze-drying, freezing and crystallization
  • Mass transfer operations − psychrometry, humidification and dehumidification operations.


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