For a UPSC CSE aspirant, the optional subject is also an important subject. In the UPSC mains exam, optional marks have two papers, Paper 1 and Paper 2. Each paper is of 250 marks which makes a total of 500 marks. The UPSC optional subject list contains 48 subjects in total, one of which is Botany.
- The Botany syllabus checks the candidates’ ability to understand the subject as science and apply botanical knowledge to ecological problems.
- The topics are mainly related to theoretical and applied Botany.
- Candidates who already studied Botany as a part of their curriculum or have a strong background in plant biology are perfect candidates to choose this subject as an optional subject.
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SYLLABUS FOR PAPER 1
- MICROBIOLOGY AND PLANT PATHOLOGY:
- Viruses, bacteria, viroids, and plasmids, mycoplasma, and fungi: Structure and reproduction.
- Applications of microbiology in agriculture, medicine, industry, and pollution control in the air, water, and soil.
- A general account of infection, Phytoimmunology as well as Prion and Prion hypothesis.
- Important plant’s crop diseases caused by viruses, mycoplasma, bacteria, fungi and nematodes. Mode of infection and dissemination.
- Molecular basis of infection and disease resistance/defence.
- Physiology of parasitism and control measures.
- Fungal toxins as well as Modelling and disease forecasting.
- Plant quarantine.
- Reproduction and structure from an evolutionary viewpoint of
- Distribution of Cryptogams in India and their economic potential and ecological importance.
- Gymnosperms: Concept of Progymonosperms. Classification and distribution of Gymnosperms.
- Salient features of:
- Cycadales, Coniferrals and Gnetales, their structures and reproduction.
- A general account of Cycadofilicales, Bennettitales and Cordaitales.
- Angiosperms: Systematics, embryology, anatomy, palynology and phylogeny.
- A comparative study of various systems of Angiosperm classification and angiospermic families–Magnoliaceae, Ranunculaceae, Brassicaceae (Cruciferae), Rosaceae, Leguminosae, Euphorbiaceae, Malvaceae, Dipterocar-paceae, Apiaceae (Umbelliferae), Asclepiadaceae, Verbenaceae, Solanaceae, Rubiaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Asteraceae (Composite), Poaceae (Gramineae), Arecaceae (Palmae), Liliaceae, Musaceae, Orchidaceae. Wood anatomy.
- Taxonomic hierarchy with numerical, International code of botanical nomenclature.
- Stomata and their types.
- Glandular, and non-grandular trichomes.
- Anomalous secondary growth, Anatomy of C 3 and C4 plants.
- Development of male and female gametophytes, pollination, fertilization. Endosperm–its development and function. Patterns of embryo development. Experimental embryology including pollen storage, and test-tube fertilization. Polyembryony, apomixis, Applications of palynology.
4. PLANT UTILITY AND EXPLOITATION:
- Origin of cultivated plants, Vavilov’s centres of origin.
- Domestication and introduction of plants.
- Plants as sources for food, fodder, beverages, spices, drugs, fibres, narcotics, insecticides, gums, timber, resins and dyes, latex, cellulose, starch and their products.
- Perfumery. Importance of Ethnobotany w.r.t India.
- Energy plantation. Botanical Gardens and Herbaria.
- Totipotency, polarity, symmetry and differentiation.
- Cell, tissue, organ and protoplast culture. Somatic hybrids and Cybrids.
- Micropropagation, Somaclonal variation with applications.
- Pollen haploids, embryo rescue methods with applications.
SYLLABUS FOR PAPER 2
- CELL BIOLOGY:
- Techniques of Cell Biology. Structural and ultrastructural details: Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
- Structure and function of extracellular matrix or ECM (cell wall) and membranes-cell adhesion, vesicular transport and, membrane transport.
- Structure and function of cell organelles (chloroplasts, mitochondria, ER, ribosomes, endosomes, lysosomes, peroxisomes, hydrogenosome). Nucleus, nucleolus, nuclear pore complex. Chromatin and nucleosome.
- Cell signalling and cell receptors. Signal transduction (G-1 proteins, etc.). Mitosis and meiosis; molecular basis of the cell cycle. Numerical and structural variations in chromosomes and their significance. Study of polytene, lampbrush and B-chromosomes–structure, behaviour and significance.
2. GENETICS, MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND EVOLUTION:
- Development of genetics, and gene versus allele concepts (Pseudoalleles). Quantitative genetics and multiple factors.
- Linkage and crossing over–methods of gene mapping including molecular maps (the idea of mapping function).
- Quantitative genetics, and multiple factors, Incomplete dominance, polygenic inheritance, multiple alleles.
- Sex chromosomes and sex-linked inheritance, sex determination and molecular basis of sex differentiation.
- Mutation (biochemical and molecular basis). Cytoplasmic inheritance and cytoplasmic genes (including genetics of male sterility). Prions and prion hypothesis.
- Structure and synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins. Genetic code and the regulation of gene expression. Multigene families. Gene silencing.
- Organic evolution-evidences, mechanism and theories. Role of RNA in origin and evolution.
3. 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 apomixis in plant breeding. Micropropagation, DNA sequencing, and genetic engineering–methods of transfer of genes and transgenic crops; development and use of molecular markers in plant breeding as well as biosafety aspects.
- Standard deviation and coefficient of variation (CV). Tests of significance (Z-test, t-test and chi-square tests). Probability and distributions (normal, binomial and Poisson distributions). Correlation and regression.
- Tools and technique- probe, DNA fingerprinting, southern blotting, PCR and FISH.
4. PHYSIOLOGY AND BIOCHEMISTRY:
- Water relations, Mineral nutrition and ion transport, mineral deficiencies.
- Photosynthesis–photochemical reactions, photophosphorylation and carbon pathways including C pathway (photorespiration), C, C and CAM pathways.
- Respiration (anaerobic and aerobic, including fermentation-electron transport chain and oxidative phosphorylation.
- Chemiosmotic theory and ATP synthesis. Nitrogen fixation and nitrogen metabolism.
- Enzymes, coenzymes, energy transfer and energy conservation. Importance of secondary metabolites. Pigments as photoreceptors (plastidial pigments and phytochrome). 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.
5. ECOLOGY AND PLANT GEOGRAPHY:
- Ecological factors
- Concepts and dynamics of a community.
- Plant succession.
- Concepts of the biosphere.
- Ecosystems and their conservation. Pollution and its control (including phytoremediation).
6. Forest types of India:
- Afforestation, deforestation and social forestry.
- Endangered plants, endemism and Red Data Books.
- Biodiversity. Convention of Biological Diversity, sovereign Rights and Intellectual Property Rights.
- Biogeochemical cycles.
- Global warming.