OPTIONAL : BOTANY

ias junior Botany

Syllabus

Botany Paper -I

Microbiology and Plant Pathology:

Structure and reproduction/multiplication of viruses, viroids, bacteria, fungi, and mycoplasma; Applications of microbiology in agriculture, industry, medicine and in control of soil and water pollution; Prion and Prion hypothesis. Important crop diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, mycoplasma, fungi, and nematodes; Modes of infection and dissemination; Molecular basis of infection and disease resistance/defense; Physiology of parasitism and control measures; Fungal toxins; Modelling and disease forecasting; Plant quarantine.

Cryptogams:

Algae, fungi, lichens, bryophytes, pteridophytes – structure and reproduction from the evolutionary viewpoint; Distribution of Cryptogams in India and their ecological and economic importance.

Phanerogams:

Gymnosperms: Concept of Progymnosperms; Classification and distribution of gymnosperms; Salient features of Cycadales, Ginkgoales, Coniferales and Gnetales, their structure, and reproduction; a General account of Cycadofilicales, Bennettitales and Cordaitales; Geological time scale; Type of fossils and their study techniques. Angiosperms: Systematics, anatomy, embryology, palynology, and phylogeny.

Taxonomic hierarchy; International Code of Botanical Nomenclature; Numerical taxonomy and chemotaxonomy; Evidence from anatomy, embryology, and palynology. Origin and evolution of angiosperms; Comparative account of various systems of classification of angiosperms; Study of angiospermic families – Magnoliaceae, Ranunculaceae, Brassicaceae, Rosaceae, Fabaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Malvaceae, Dipterocarpaceae, Apiaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Verbenaceae, Solanaceae, Rubiaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Asteraceae, Poaceae, Arecaceae, Liliaceae, Musaceae and Orchidaceae.

Stomata and their types; Glandular and non-glandular trichomes; Unusual secondary growth; Anatomy of C3 and C4 plants; Xylem and phloem differentiation; Wood anatomy.

Development of male and female gametophytes, pollination, fertilization; Endosperm – its development and function; Patterns of embryo development; Polyembryony and apomixes; Applications of palynology; Experimental embryology including pollen storage and test-tube fertilization.

Plant Resource Development:

Domestication and introduction of plants; Origin of cultivated plants; Vavilov’s centres of origin; Plants as sources for food, fodder, fibre, spices, beverages, edible oils, drugs, narcotics, insecticides, timber, gums, resins and dyes, latex, cellulose, starch and its products; Perfumery; Importance of Ethnobotany in Indian context; Energy plantations; Botanical Gardens and Herbaria.

Morphogenesis:

Totipotency, polarity, symmetry, and differentiation; Cell, tissue, organ and protoplast culture; Somatic hybrids and Cybrids; Micropropagation; Somaclonal variation and its applications; Pollen haploids, embryo rescue methods and their applications.

Botany Paper-II

Cell Biology:

Techniques of cell biology; Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells – structural and ultra-structural details; Structure and function of extra-cellular matrix (cell wall), membranes-cell adhesion, membrane transport and vesicular transport; Structure and function of cell organelles (chloroplasts, mitochondria, ER, dictyo-somes ribosomes, endosomes, lysosomes, peroxisomes); Cytoskelaton and microtubules; Nucleus, nucleolus, nuclear pore complex; Chromatin and nucleosome; Cell signalling and cell receptors; Signal transduction; Mitosis and meiosis; Molecular basis of cell cycle; Numerical and structural variations in chromosomes and their significance; Chromatin organization and packaging of genome; Polytene chromosomes; B-chromosomes – structure, behaviour and significance.

Genetics, Molecular Biology, and Evolution:

Development of genetics; Gene versus allele concepts (Pseudoalleles); Quantitative genetics and multiple factors; Incomplete dominance, polygenic inheritance, multiple alleles; Linkage and crossing over; Methods of gene mapping, including molecular maps (idea of mapping function); Sex chromosomes and sex-linked inheritance, sex determination and molecular basis of sex differentiation; Mutations (biochemical and molecular basis); Cytoplasmic inheritance and cytoplasmic genes (including genetics of male sterility).

Structure and synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins; Genetic code and regulation of gene expression; Gene silencing; Multigene families; Organic evolution – evidence mechanism, and theories. Role of RNA in origin and evolution.

Plant Breeding, Biotechnology and Biostatistics:

Methods of plant breeding – introduction, selection and hybridization (pedigree, backcross, mass selection, bulk method); Mutation, polyploidy, male sterility and heterosis breeding; Use of apomixes in plant breeding; DNA sequencing; Genetic engineering – methods of transfer of genes; Transgenic crops and biosafety aspects; Development and use of molecular markers in plant breeding; Tools and techniques – probe, southern blotting, DNA fingerprinting, PCR and FISH.

Standard deviation and coefficient of variation (CV); Tests of significance (Z-test, t-test and chi-square test); Probability and distributions (normal, binomial and Poisson); Correlation and regression.

Physiology and Biochemistry:

Water relations, mineral nutrition and ion transport, mineral deficiencies; Photosynthesis – photochemical reactions; photo-phosphorylation and carbon fixation pathways; C3, C4 and CAM pathways; Mechanism of phloem transport; Respiration (anerobic and aerobic, including fermentation) – electron transport chain and oxidative phosphorylation; Photorespiration; Chemiosmotic theory and ATP synthesis; Lipid metabolism; Nitrogen fixation and nitrogen metabolism; Enzymes, coenzymes; Energy transfer and energy conservation; Importance of secondary metabolites; Pigments as photoreceptors (plastidial pigments and phytochrome); Plant movements; Photoperiodism and flowering, vernalization, senescence; Growth substances – their chemical nature, role and applications in agri-horticulture; Growth indices, growth movements; Stress physiology (heat, water, salinity, metal); Fruit and seed physiology; Dormancy, storage and germination of seed; Fruit ripening – its molecular basis and manipulation.

Ecology and Plant Geography:

Concept of ecosystem; Ecological factors; Concepts and dynamics of community; Plant succession; Concept of biosphere; Ecosystems; Conservation; Pollution and its control (including phytoremediation); Plant indicators; Environment (Protection) Act.

Forest types of India – Ecological and economic importance of forests, afforestation, deforestation and social forestry; Endangered plants, endemism, IUCN categories, Red Data Books; Biodiversity and its conservation; Protected Area Network; Convention on Biological Diversity; Farmers’ Rights and Intellectual Property Rights; Concept of Sustainable Development; Biogeochemical cycles; Global warming and climatic change; Invasive species; Environmental Impact Assessment; Phytogeo-graphical regions of India.

Reference Books:

  • Cell Biology: De Robertis & Ambrose and Easy or Powar
  • Genetics: Strickberger or Vir Bala Rastogi
  • Physiology and Biochemistry: Salisbury and Ross or Fritz and Noggle
  • Ecology: Vir Bala Rastogi and M.S. Jayaraj and P.D. Singh
  • Economic Botany: Kochar or Verma
  • Microbiology: Powars’s two books on microbiology are more than enough.
  • Pathology: Singh’s book along with a foreign author
  • Cryptograms: B.R. Vasista (alage and fungi), P.C. Vashishta (Pteridophytes gymnosperms) Pandey and Trivedi (both volumes)
  • Embryology: Bhojwani and Bhatnagar
  • Plant Anatomy: Esau or B.P. Pandey
  • Taxonomy: Nair along with Datta

Strategy:

Merits:

  • Botany is highly scoring optional subject in UPSC IAS Mains exam.
  • Candidates who have taken Botany or Biology as their graduation major and are in touch with this subject can take this optional.
  • Candidates who have lost touch but still like the subject or enjoy reading about it can select this subject.
  • Also, aspirants with a background in biotechnology can also opt for this optional subject.

Demerits:

  • It will be difficult to any aspirants does not have a prior knowledge of Botany and Agriculture.

How to prepare:

  • Memorise the Syllabus.
  • Stick to limited reference books
  • Before starting preparation, go through previous year qps
  • The Paper I of Botany is which is like General studies and on diagrams more in this paper.
  • But Paper II of Botany optional deals with the technical concepts such as cell biology, Genetics, evolution and molecular biology.

Botany Paper I Important Topics

  • Focus on diagrams more in this paper.
  • Give Indian examples also of species.
  • Microbiology section is most important for the 200 words short notes.
  • The key areas in Phanerogams are:

Gymnosperms: focus on fossil types

Angiosperms: prepare floral diagrams and formulas.

Embryology: don’t ignore diagrams in this topic.

Botany Paper II Important Topics

  • Under cell biology, molecular aspect should be given importance.
  • Genetics, evolution and molecular biology are important areas with high scoring potential.
  • Candidates should write answers giving prominence to applications in agriculture and human welfare.
  • In Physiology and Biochemistry sections, biochemical physiology is very important. In topics like flowering, seed germination, and fruit ripening, aspirants need to cover hormones and developmental physiology.

Previous Year Question Papers:

Yearwise:

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