The zoology paper consists of two papers, paper 1 and paper 2. The subject carries a total of 500 marks, with each paper allotted for 250 marks.
Aspirants who are targeting UPSC 2020, may check the linked article.
UPSC IAS Zoology Syllabus Paper – I
1.Non-chordata and Chordata:
- Classification and relationship of various phyla up to subclasses: Acoelomate and Coelomate, Protostomes and Deuterostomes, Bilateria and Radiata; Status of Protista, Parazoa, Onychophora and Hemichordata; Symmetry.
- Protozoa: Locomotion, nutrition, reproduction, sex; General features and life history of Paramaecium, Monocystis, Plasmodium and Leishmania.
- Porifera: Skeleton, canal system and reproduction.
- Cnidaria: Polymorphism, defensive structures and their mechanism; coral reefs and their formation; metagenesis; general features and life history of Obelia and Aurelia.
- Platyhelminthes: Parasitic adaptation; general features and life history of Fasciola and Taenia and their pathogenic symptoms.
- Nemathelminthes: General features, life history, parasitic adaptation of Ascaris and Wuchereria.
- Annelida: Coelom and metamerism; modes of life in polychaetes; general features and life history of Nereis, earthworm and leach.
- Arthropoda: Larval forms and parasitism in Crustacea; vision and respiration in arthropods (Prawn, cockroach and scorpion); modification of mouth parts in insects (cockroach, mosquito, housefly, honey bee and butterfly); metamorphosis in insect and its hormonal regulation, social behaviour of Apis and termites.
- Mollusca: Feeding, respiration, locomotion, general features and life history of Lamellidens, Pila and Sepia, torsion and detorsion in gastropods.
- Echinodermata: Feeding, respiration, locomotion, larval forms, general features and life history of Asterias.
- Protochordata: Origin of chordates; general features and life history of Branchiostoma and Herdmania.
- Pisces: Respiration, locomotion and migration.
- Amphibia: Origin of tetrapods, parental care, paedomorphosis.
- Reptilia; Origin of reptiles, skull types, status of Sphenodon and crocodiles.
- Aves: Origin of birds, flight adaptation, migration.
- Mammalia: Origin of mammals, dentition, general features of egg laying mammals, pouched-mammals, aquatic mammals and primates, endocrine glands (pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, pancreas, gonads) and their interrelationships.
- Comparative functional anatomy of various systems of vertebrates (integument and its derivatives, endoskeleton, locomotory organs, digestive system, respiratory system, circulatory system including heart and aortic arches, urino-genital system, brain and sense organs (eye and ear).
- Biosphere: Concept of biosphere; biomes, Biogeochemical cycles, Human induced changes in atmosphere including green house effect, ecological succession, biomes and ecotones, community ecology.
- Concept of ecosystem; structure and function of ecosystem, types of ecosystem, ecological succession, ecological adaptation.
- Population; characteristics, population dynamics, population stabilization.
- Biodiversity and diversity conservation of natural resources.
- Wildlife of India.
- Remote sensing for sustainable development.
- Environmental biodegradation, pollution and its impact on biosphere and its prevention.
- Behaviour: Sensory filtering, reponsiveness, sign stimuli, learning and memory, instinct, habituation, conditioning, imprinting.
- Role of hormones in drive; role of pheromones in alarm spreading; crypsis, predator detection, predator tactics, social hierarchies in primates, social organization in insects.
- Orientation, navigation, homing, biological rhythms, biological clock, tidal, seasonal and circadian rhythms.
- Methods of studying animal behaviour including sexual conflict, selfishness, kinship and altruism.
4. Economic Zoology:
- Apiculture, sericulture, lac culture, carp culture, pearl culture, prawn culture, vermiculture.
- Major infectious and communicable diseases (malaria, filaria, tuberculosis, cholera and AIDS) their vectors, pathogens and prevention.
- Cattle and livestock diseases, their pathogen (helminthes) and vectors (ticks, mites, Tabanus, Stomoxys).
- Pests of sugar cane (Pyrilla perpusiella) oil seed (Achaea janata) and rice (Sitophilus oryzae).
- Transgenic animals.
- Medical biotechnology, human genetic disease and genetic counselling, gene therapy.
- Forensic biotechnology.
- Designing of experiments; null hypothesis; correlation, regression, distribution and measure of central tendency, chi square, student-test, F-test (one-way & two-way F-test).
6. Instrumentation Methods:
- Spectrophotometer, phase contrast and fluorescence microscopy, radioactive tracer, ultra centrifuge, gel electrophoresis, PCR, ELISA, FISH and chromosome painting.
- Electron microscopy (TEM, SEM).
UPSC IAS Zoology Syllabus Paper – II
1. Cell Biology:
- Structure and function of cell and its organelles (nucleus, plasma membrane, mitochondria, Golgi bodies, endoplasmic reticulum, ribosomes, and lysosomes), cell division (mitosis and meiosis), mitotic spindle and mitotic apparatus, chromosome movements, chromosome type polytene and lambrush, organization of chromatin, heterochromatin, Cell cycle regulation.
- Nucleic acid topology, DNA motif, DNA replication, transcription, RNA processing, translation, protein foldings and transport.
- Modern concept of gene, split gene, genetic regulation, genetic code.
- Sex chromosomes and their evolution, sex determination in Drosophila and man.
- Mendel’s laws of inheritance, recombination, linkage, multiple alleles, genetics of blood groups, pedigree analysis, hereditary diseases in man.
- Mutations and mutagenesis.
- Recombinant DNA technology; plasmid, cosmid, artificial chromosomes as vectors, transgenic, DNA cloning and whole animal cloning (principles and methods).
- Gene regulation and expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
- Signal molecules, cell death, defects in signaling pathway and consequences.
- RFLP, RAPD and AFLP and application of RFLP in DNA finger printing, ribozyme technologies, human genome project, genomics and protomics.
- Theories of origin of life.
- Theories of evolution; Natural selection, role of mutations in evolution, evolutionary patterns, molecular drive, mimicry, variation, isolation and speciation.
- Evolution of horse, elephant and man using fossil data.
- Hardy-Weinberg Law.
- Continental drift and distribution of animals.
- Zoological nomenclature, international code, cladistics, molecular taxonomy and biodiversity.
- Structure and role of carbohydrates, fats, fatty acids and cholesterol, proteins and amino-acids, nucleic acids. Bioenergetics.
- Glycolysis and Kreb cycle, oxidation and reduction, oxidative phosphorylation, energy conservation and release, ATP cycle, cyclic AMP – its structure and role.
- Hormone classification (steroid and peptide hormones), biosynthesis and functions.
- Enzymes: types and mechanisms of action.
- Vitamins and co-enzymes
- Immunoglobulin and immunity.
6. Physiology (with special reference to mammals):
- Composition and constituents of blood; blood groups and Rh factor in man, factors and mechanism of coagulation, iron metabolism, acid-base balance, thermo-regulation, anticoagulants.
- Haemoglobin: Composition, types and role in transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
- Digestion and absorption: Role of salivary glands, liver, pancreas and intestinal glands.
- Excretion: nephron and regulation of urine formation; osmo-regulation and excretory product
- Muscles: Types, mechanism of contraction of skeletal muscles, effects of exercise on muscles.
- Neuron: nerve impulse – its conduction and synaptic transmission, neurotransmitters.
- Vision, hearing and olfaction in man.
- Physiology of reproduction, puberty and menopause in human.
7. Developmental Biology:
- Gametogenesis; spermatogenesis, composition of semen, in vitro and in vivo capacitation of mammalian sperm, Oogenesis, totipotency; fertilization, morphogenesis and morphogen, blastogenesis, establishment of body axes formation, fate map, gestulation in frog and chick; genes in development in chick, homeotic genes, development of eye and heart, placenta in mammals.
- Cell lineage, cell-to cell interaction, Genetic and induced teratogenesis, role of thyroxine in control of metamorphosis in amphibia, paedogenesis and neoteny, cell death, aging.
- Developmental genes in man, in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer, cloning.
- Stem cells: Sources, types and their use in human welfare.
- Biogenetic law.
Also, Check Other UPSC Optional Subject’s Syllabus
Preparation Tips for the UPSC IAS Zoology Syllabus
Zoology is a subject that, on the outset, requires elaborate preparation. That said, it requires both time and consistent preparation to excel with good marks. Syllabus is too vast. Ample study time is essential to cover a major chunk of the syllabus. The syllabus itself is so huge that an aspirant really needs to sit down to set aside what to study and what not to. Do not get overwhelmed by the syllabus.
Though these points are certain to take you aback, fret not! The good news is, zoology in itself has been agreed upon as a scoring subject by most aspirants who’ve attempted it. It is a science subject, so you can certainly score well. But to choose zoology as your optional you need to consider whether you have the aptitude in the subject or not. For example, people from related and allied fields in their graduation commonly opt for this subject.
It could be fields like biology, medicine, life sciences etc. Students who have pursued botany, forest sciences, and agricultural sciences also find this subject interesting for preparation. But for those who are not from non-science background, this subject may seem like an alien and also tough to understand from the scratch and attempt.
Whether a candidate is well versed with the subject or isn’t, extensive studies for months together without getting distracted is primary to this subject.
Before beginning with the actual preparation of the subject, first and foremost get to the basics. Look out for all the important facts that you ought to know as part of your preparation process and list them out separately in a book. Once you’re done with this part, you’ve set the stage for advanced preparation of the subject.
Right after this, don’t plunge into your books directly. Spend some more time in the pre-preparation phase itself analyzing how questions are asked, what kind of questions are framed, what category of concepts appear more frequently etc.
You should also acquaint yourself with the variety in question patterns. Try to look at direct questions, indirect questions etc. Preparing yourself in accordance with the examination will give you more clarity in your approach. You will be able to clearly decide your study plan.
When you finally set out to make a study planner, you should clearly mention topics to be covered plus sub topics. Zoology is all about a lot of sub-orders attached to the main order, so make sure you get all elements in the hierarchy mentioned. Don’t miss out on the diversity of conceptual knowledge required for the subject. Since almost every topic comes with a lengthy list of sub topics, you should know where to draw the line and cut down the rest from your study list.
Another important aspect of your preparation should deal with diagrams and essential figures. Zoology is all about facts, information, figures and classifications. Make a bulleted description below each diagram to quickly tell you what the diagram intends to do, when you’re running short of time in the later phase as you approach exam dates. Crisp, clear and concise short notes are a must.
For every topic, make this a habit and you can be sure of giving your best shot later. Also include all major points related to the topic so that your answers will be balanced in all respects.
When it comes to questions on the animal kingdom, you simply have to stick to facts and information about each one of them. Your logical or analytical thinking may not prove very useful here. All you need to do is to be sure about all important elements of every topic.
Also, there is no scope or room for any creativity or presentation skills here. You need to present information correctly, that’s all is needed. Diagrams may not look picture perfect since you have a hell lot of them to learn up. Label them properly and describe them using the right word usage.
A correctly depicted picture fetches more marks than a wrongly presented diagram drawn very impressively. Support your answers with diagrams wherever required. BE careful with scientific terms, terminologies and flow charts. Be sure of what you depict in your flow charts.
Many times, the examiners may give priority to visually depicted answers, thereby your flow chart gaining more importance than your written description. So, in such cases if your flow chart is providing wrong information or not matching data with the answer, then an entire question may prove futile.
For topics like economic zoology, apart from studying from reference material, you should also make sure to be updated with the most recent developments in our country. IF you have too many theories to study, then analyze each one of them briefly plus put across a mention of how well they can be interrelated.
So, here is the blueprint for your zoology preparation. Begin with the basics, then take up detailed studies. There are plenty of books to guide you on these topics, but the point is, without getting enough clarity with the basics, there is no way out to reach the advanced elements of the subject.
So for your studies, pick up basic and elementary books to begin. Then go for advanced books to complete the syllabus thoroughly.
Here is a suggestive list of books which you shouldn’t miss out on:
- General Zoology by Tracy Irwin Storer
- Ecology by P D Sharma
- Cell and Molecular Biology by De Robertis
- Animal Physiology by H R Singh.
For every important topic, there are very good reference books available in the market, plus online books too. Make sure you select the best out of them.
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