CSIR UGC NET Life Science Syllabus, Books, Weightage & Question Pattern

Updated On -

Jul 18, 2020

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Nikkil Visha

Exams Prep Master

CSIR stands for Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Life sciences is a subject associated with the technological study of Biology and Biotechnology that gives an opportunity to grasp every important and unknown things & facts about animals, plants, micro-organisms, and human beings. 

CSIR conducts the Joint CSIR UGC NET exam twice a year in the months of June and December. Through this exam a candidate’s eligibility for the award of Junior Research Fellowships (JRF) NET and for the appointment of Lecturers is determined. It will test the general as well as the subjective knowledge of the applicant.  Click Here to Apply for CSIR NET 2020

Other than Life Sciences CSIR UGC NET is conducted for following streams:

  1. Chemical Sciences
  2. Earth Sciences
  3. Mathematical Sciences
  4. Physical Sciences

Check  CSIR NET Exam Pattern

Life Sciences Syllabus

CSIR NET UGC Life Sciences 2020 Syllabus

Life Sciences question paper is divided into three parts, (A, B & C). Also, according to the Syllabus and Scheme of Exam, it will contain 145 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs).

  • Life Sciences Part A (which contains 20 Questions) will be common to all subjects. This part will contain questions pertaining to General Sciences with emphasis on logical reasoning, graphical analysis, analytical and numerical ability, quantitative comparison, series formation, puzzles etc. Candidates will be required to answer 15 in this part.
  • Life Sciences Part B (which contains 50 Questions) will contain subject-related conventional Multiple Choice questions (MCQs), generally covering the topics given in the syllabus. Candidates will be required to answer 35 in part
  • Life Sciences Part C (which contains 75 Questions) will contain higher value questions that may test the candidate’s knowledge of scientific concepts and/or application of the scientific concepts. The questions will be of analytical nature where a candidate is expected to apply the scientific knowledge to arrive at the solution to the given scientific problem. Candidates will be required to answer 25 in part
  • Questions in Parts A and B carry two marks each and Part C questions carry four marks each

Life Sciences Major Topics

Life Sciences Major Topics

These are the various topics candidates need to cover from the syllabus.

  1. Molecules and their Interaction Relevant to Biology
  2. Cellular Organization 
  3. Fundamental Processes
  4. Cell Communication and Cell Signaling
  5. Developmental Biology
  6. System Physiology – Plant
  7. System Physiology – Animal
  8. Inheritance Biology
  9. Diversity of  Life Forms
  10. Ecological Principles
  11. Evolution and Behavior
  12. Applied Biology
  13. Methods in Biology 

1. Molecules and their Interaction Relevant to Biology

  • Structure of atoms, molecules and chemical bonds.
  • Composition, structure and function of biomolecules (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids and vitamins).
  • Stabilizing interactions (Van der Waals, electrostatic, hydrogen bonding, hydrophobic interaction, etc.).
  • Principles of biophysical chemistry (pH, buffer, reaction kinetics, thermodynamics, colligative properties).
  • Bioenergetics, glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation, coupled reaction, group transfer, biological energy transducers.
  • Principles of catalysis, enzymes and enzyme kinetics, enzyme regulation,  mechanism of enzyme catalysis, isozymes
  • Conformation of proteins (Ramachandran plot, secondary structure, domains,        motif and folds).
  • Conformation of nucleic acids (helix (A, B, Z), t-RNA, micro-RNA).
  • Stability of proteins and nucleic acids.
  • Metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids nucleotides and vitamins.

2.Cellular Organization

  • Membrane structure and function

(Structure of model membrane, lipid bilayer and membrane protein diffusion, osmosis, ion channels, active transport, membrane pumps, mechanism of sorting and regulation of intracellular transport,electrical properties of membranes).

  • Structural organization and function of intracellular organelles (Cell wall, nucleus, mitochondria, Golgi bodies, lysosomes, endoplasmic reticulum, peroxisomes, plastids, vacuoles, chloroplast,  structure &  function of cytoskeleton and its role in  motility).
  • Organization of genes and chromosomes (Operon, unique and repetitive DNA, interrupted genes, gene families, structure of chromatin and chromosomes, heterochromatin, euchromatin, transposons).
  • Cell division and cell cycle

Mitosis and meiosis, their regulation, steps in cell cycle, regulation and control of cell

  • Microbial Physiology (Growth yield and characteristics, strategies of cell division, stress response)

3. Fundamental Processes 

  • DNA replication, repair and recombination (Unit of replication, enzymes involved, replication origin and replication fork, fidelity of replication, extrachromosomal replicons, DNA damage and  repair mechanisms, homologous and site-specific recombination).
  • RNA synthesis and  processing (transcription factors and machinery, formation of initiation complex, transcription activator and repressor, RNA polymerases, capping, elongation, and termination, RNA processing, RNA editing, splicing, and polyadenylation, structure and function of different types of RNA, RNA transport).
  • Protein synthesis and processing (Ribosome, formation of initiation complex, initiation factors and their regulation, elongation and elongation factors, termination, genetic code, aminoacylation of tRNA, tRNA-identity, aminoacyl  tRNA synthetase, and translational proof-reading, translational inhibitors, Post- translational modification of proteins).
  • Control of gene expression at transcription and translation level (regulating the expression of phages, viruses, prokaryotic and eukaryotic genes, role of chromatin in gene expression and gene silencing).

4. Cell communication and cell signaling

  • Host parasite interaction Recognition and entry processes of different pathogens like bacteria, viruses into animal and plant host cells, alteration of host cell behavior by pathogens, virus-induced cell transformation, pathogen-induced diseases in animals and plants, cell-cell fusion in both normal and abnormal cells.
  • Cell signaling Hormones and their receptors, cell surface receptor, signaling through G-protein coupled receptors, signal transduction pathways, second messengers, regulation of signaling pathways, bacterial and plant two component systems, light signaling in plants, bacterial chemotaxis and quorum sensing.
  • Cellular communication Regulation of hematopoiesis, general principles of cell communication, cell adhesion and roles of different adhesion molecules, gap junctions, extracellular matrix,  integrins, neurotransmission and its regulation.
  • Cancer- Genetic rearrangements in progenitor cells, oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, cancer and the cell cycle, virus-induced cancer, metastasis, interaction of cancer cells with normal cells, apoptosis, therapeutic interventions of uncontrolled cell growth.
  • Innate and adaptive immune system Cells and molecules involved in innate and adaptive immunity, antigens, antigenicity and immunogenicity. B and   T cell epitopes, structure and function of antibody molecules. generation of antibody diversity, monoclonal antibodies, antibody engineering, antigen-antibody interactions, MHC molecules, antigen processing and presentation, activation and differentiation of B and T cells, B and T  cell receptors, humoral and cellmediated immune responses, primary and secondary immune modulation, the complement system, Toll-like receptors, cell-mediated effector functions, inflammation, hypersensitivity and autoimmunity, immune response during bacterial (tuberculosis), parasitic (malaria) and viral (HIV) infections, congenital and acquired immunodeficiencies, vaccines.

5.Developmental Biology

  • Basic concepts of development : Potency, commitment, specification, induction, competence, determination and differentiation; morphogenetic gradients; cell fate and cell lineages; stem cells; genomic equivalence and the cytoplasmic determinants; imprinting; mutants and transgenic in analysis of development
  • Gametogenesis, fertilization and early development: Production of gametes, cell surface molecules in sperm-egg recognition in animals; embryo sac development and double fertilization in plants; zygote formation, cleavage, blastula formation, embryonic fields, gastrulation and formation of germ layers in animals; embryogenesis, establishment of symmetry in plants;  seed formation and germination.
  • Morphogenesis and organogenesis  in animals : Cell aggregation and differentiation in Dictyostelium; axes and pattern formation in Drosophila, amphibia and chick;  organogenesis – vulva formation in Caenorhabditis elegans, eye lens induction, limb development and regeneration in vertebrates; differentiation of neurons, post embryonic development- larval formation, metamorphosis; environmental regulation of normal development; sex determination.
  • Morphogenesis and organogenesis in plants: Organization of shoot and root apical meristem; shoot and root development; leaf development and phyllotaxy; transition to flowering, floral meristems and floral development in Arabidopsis and Antirrhinum
  • Programmed cell death, aging and senescence

6. System Physiology - Plant

  • Photosynthesis - Light harvesting complexes; mechanisms of electron transport; photoprotective mechanisms; CO2  fixation-C3, C4 and CAM pathways.
  • Respiration and photorespiration – Citric acid cycle; plant mitochondrial electron transport and ATP synthesis; alternate oxidase; photorespiratory pathway.
  • Nitrogen metabolism - Nitrate and ammonium assimilation; amino acid biosynthesis.
  • Plant hormones – Biosynthesis, storage, breakdown and transport; physiological effects and mechanisms of action.
  • Sensory photobiology - Structure, function and mechanisms of action of phytochromes, cryptochromes and phytotropins; stomatal movement; photoperiodic and biological clocks.
  • Solute transport and photo assimilate translocation – uptake, transport and translocation of water, ions, solutes and macromolecules from soil, through cells, across membranes, through xylem and phloem; transpiration; mechanisms of loading and unloading of photo assimilates.
  • Secondary metabolites - Biosynthesis of terpenes, phenols and nitrogenous compounds and their roles.
  • Stress physiology – Responses of plants to biotic (pathogen and insects) and abiotic (water, temperature and salt) stresses.

7. System Physiology -  Animal

  • Blood and circulation - Blood  corpuscles, haemopoiesis and formed elements, plasma function, blood volume, blood volume regulation, blood groups, haemoglobin, immunity, haemostasis.
  • Cardiovascular System: Comparative anatomy of heart structure, myogenic heart, specialized tissue, ECG – its principle and significance, cardiac cycle, heart as a pump, blood pressure, neural and chemical regulation of all above.
  • Respiratory system - Comparison of respiration in different species, anatomical considerations, transport of gases, exchange of gases, waste elimination, neural and chemical regulation of respiration.
  • Nervous system - Neurons, action potential, gross neuroanatomy of the brain and spinal cord, central and peripheral nervous system, neural control of muscle tone and posture.
  • Sense organs -  Vision, hearing and tactile response.
  • Excretory system - Comparative physiology of excretion, kidney, urine formation, urine concentration, waste elimination, micturition,  regulation of water balance, blood volume, blood pressure, electrolyte balance, acid-base balance.
  • Thermoregulation - Comfort zone, body temperature – physical, chemical, neural regulation, acclimatization.
  • Stress and adaptation
  • Digestive system - Digestion, absorption, energy balance, BMR.
  • Endocrinology and reproduction - Endocrine glands, basic mechanism of hormone action, hormones and diseases; reproductive processes, gametogenesis, ovulation, neuroendocrine regulation

8. Inheritance Biology

  • Mendelian principles: Dominance, segregation, independent assortment.
  • Concept of gene : Allele, multiple alleles, pseudoallele, complementation tests
  • Extensions of Mendelian principles : Codominance, incomplete dominance, gene interactions, pleiotropy, genomic imprinting, penetrance and expressivity, phenocopy, linkage and crossing over, sex linkage, sex limited and sex influenced characters.
  • Gene mapping methods : Linkage maps, tetrad analysis, mapping with molecular markers, mapping by using somatic cell hybrids, development of mapping population in plants.
  • Extra chromosomal inheritance : Inheritance of Mitochondrial and chloroplast genes, maternal inheritance.
  • Microbial genetics : Methods of genetic transfers – transformation, conjugation, transduction and sex-duction, mapping genes by interrupted mating, fine structure analysis of genes.
  • Human genetics : Pedigree analysis, lod score for linkage testing, karyotypes, genetic disorders.
  • Quantitative genetics : Polygenic inheritance, heritability and its measurements, QTL mapping.
  • Mutation : Types, causes and detection, mutant types – lethal, conditional, biochemical, loss of function, gain of function, germinal verses somatic mutants, insertional mutagenesis.
  • Structural and numerical alterations of chromosomes : Deletion, duplication, inversion, translocation, ploidy and their genetic implications.  
  • Recombination : Homologous and non-homologous recombination including transposition.

9. Diversity of Life Forms

  • Principles & methods of taxonomy: Concepts of species and hierarchical taxa, biological nomenclature, classical & quantitative  methods of taxonomy of plants, animals and microorganisms.
  • Levels of structural organization:Unicellular, colonial and multicellular forms.  Levels of organization of tissues, organs & systems.  Comparative anatomy, adaptive radiation, adaptive modifications.
  • Outline classification of plants, animals & microorganisms:
  • Important criteria used for classification in each taxon.  Classification of plants,     animals and microorganisms.  Evolutionary relationships among taxa.
  • Natural history of Indian subcontinent: Major habitat types of the subcontinent, geographic origins and migrations of  species.  Common  Indian mammals, birds.  Seasonality and phenology of the  subcontinent. 
  • Organisms of health & agricultural importance: Common parasites and pathogens of humans, domestic animals and crops.
  • Organisms of conservation concern: Rare, endangered species.  Conservation strategies.

10. Ecological Principles

  • The Environment: Physical environment; biotic environment; biotic and abiotic interactions.
  • Habitat and Niche: Concept of habitat and niche; niche width and overlap; fundamental and realized niche; resource partitioning; character displacement.
  • Population Ecology: Characteristics of a population; population growth curves; population regulation; life history strategies (r and K selection); concept of metapopulation – demes and dispersal, interdemic extinctions, age structured populations.
  • Species Interactions: Types of interactions, interspecific competition, herbivory, carnivory, pollination, symbiosis.
  • Community Ecology: Nature of communities; community structure and attributes; levels of species diversity and its measurement; edges and ecotones.
  • Ecological Succession: Types; mechanisms; changes involved in succession; concept of climax.
  • Ecosystem Ecology: Ecosystem structure; ecosystem function; energy flow and mineral cycling (C,N,P); primary production and decomposition; structure and function of some Indian ecosystems: terrestrial (forest, grassland) and aquatic (fresh water, marine, eustarine).
  • Biogeography:  Major terrestrial biomes; theory of island biogeography; biogeographical zones of India.
  • Applied Ecology: Environmental pollution; global environmental change; biodiversity: status, monitoring and documentation; major drivers of biodiversity change; biodiversity management approaches. 
  • Conservation Biology: Principles of conservation, major approaches to management, Indian case studies on conservation/management strategy (Project Tiger, Biosphere reserves).

11.Evolution and Behaviour

  • Emergence of evolutionary thoughts- Lamarck; Darwin–concepts of variation, adaptation, struggle, fitness and natural  selection; Mendelism; Spontaneity of mutations; The evolutionary synthesis.
  • Origin of cells and unicellular evolution:
  • Origin of basic biological molecules; Abiotic synthesis of organic monomers and  polymers; Concept of Oparin and Haldane; Experiement of Miller (1953); The first cell;  Evolution of prokaryotes; Origin of eukaryotic cells; Evolution of   unicellular  eukaryotes; Anaerobic metabolism, photosynthesis and aerobic metabolism.
  • Paleontology and Evolutionary History: The evolutionary time scale; Eras, periods and epoch; Major events in the  evolutionary time scale; Origins of unicellular and multi cellular organisms; Major groups of plants  and animals; Stages in primate evolution including  Homo.
  • Molecular Evolution: Concepts of neutral evolution, molecular divergence and molecular clocks;  Molecular tools in phylogeny, classification and identification; Protein and  nucleotide sequence analysis; origin of new genes and proteins;  Gene duplication and divergence.
  • The Mechanisms:
  • Population genetics – Populations, Gene pool, Gene frequency; Hardy-Weinberg  Law; concepts and rate of change in gene frequency through natural selection,  migration and  random genetic drift; Adaptive radiation; Isolating mechanisms; Speciation; Allopatricity and Sympatricity; Convergent evolution; Sexual  selection; Co-evolution.
  • Brain, Behavior and Evolution:
  • Approaches and methods in study of behavior; Proximate and ultimate causation;
  • Altruism and evolution-Group selection, Kin selection, Reciprocal altruism; Neural basis
  • of learning, memory, cognition, sleep and arousal; Biological clocks; Development  of behavior; Social communication; Social dominance; Use of space and  territoriality;  Mating systems, Parental investment and Reproductive success;  Parental care;  Aggressive behavior; Habitat selection and optimality in foraging; Migration, orientation  and navigation; Domestication and behavioral  changes.   
  • Microbial fermentation and production of small and macro molecules.
  • Application of immunological principles, vaccines, diagnostics.   Tissue  and cell  culture methods for plants and animals.
  • Transgenic animals and plants, molecular approaches to diagnosis and strain identification.
  • Genomics and its application to health and agriculture, including gene therapy.
  • Bioresource and uses of biodiversity.
  • Breeding in plants and animals, including marker – assisted selection
  • Bioremediation and phytoremediation
  • Biosensors

13. Methods in Biology

  • Molecular Biology and Recombinant DNA methods:
  • Isolation and purification of RNA, DNA (genomic and plasmid) and proteins,  different separation methods.
  • Analysis of RNA, DNA and proteins by one and two dimensional gel  electrophoresis, Isoelectric focusing gels.
  • Molecular cloning of DNA or RNA fragments in bacterial and eukaryotic  systems.
  • Expression of recombinant proteins using bacterial, animal and plant vectors.
  • Isolation of specific nucleic acid sequences
  • Generation of genomic and cDNA libraries in plasmid, phage, cosmid, BAC and  YAC    vectors.
  • In vitro mutagenesis and deletion techniques, gene knock out in bacterial and  eukaryotic organisms. 
  • Protein sequencing methods, detection of post translation modification of proteins.
  • DNA sequencing methods, strategies for genome sequencing.
  • Methods for analysis of gene expression at  RNA and protein level, large scale  expression, such  as micro array based techniques
  • Isolation, separation and analysis of carbohydrate and lipid molecules
  • RFLP, RAPD and AFLP techniques
  • B. Histochemical and Immunotechniques
  • Antibody generation, Detection of molecules using ELISA, RIA, western blot,  immunoprecipitation, fluocytometry  and immunofluorescence microscopy,  detection of molecules in living cells, in situ localization by techniques such as  FISHand GISH.
  • Biophysical Method: Molecular analysis using UV/visible, fluorescence, circular dichroism, NMR and  ESR  spectroscopy Molecular structure determination using X-ray diffraction and NMR,  Molecular analysis using light scattering, different types of mass  spectrometry and  surface plasma resonance  methods.
  • Statisitcal Methods: Measures of central tendency and dispersal; probability distributions (Binomial,  Poisson and normal); Sampling distribution; Difference between parametric and        non-parametric statistics;  Confidence Interval; Errors; Levels of significance;  Regression  and  Correlation; t-test; Analysis of variance; X2 test;; Basic introduction  to Muetrovariate statistics, etc.
  • Radiolabeling techniques: Detection and measurement of different types of radioisotopes normally used in  biology, incorporation of radioisotopes in biological tissues and cells, molecular  imaging of radioactive material, safety guidelines.
  • Detection and measurement of different types of radioisotopes normally used in  biology, incorporation of radioisotopes in biological tissues and cells, molecular  imaging of radioactive material, safety guidelines.
  • Microscopic techniques: Visulization of cells and subcellular components by light microscopy, resolving  powers  of different microscopes, microscopy of living cells, scanning and  transmission  microscopes, different fixation and staining techniques for EM, freeze-etch and freeze fracture methods for EM, image processing methods in microscopy.
  • Electrophysiological methods: Single neuron recording, patch-clamp recording, ECG, Brain activity recording,  lesion  and stimulation of brain, pharmacological testing, PET, MRI, fMRI, CAT .
  • Methods in field biology: Methods of estimating population density of animals and plants, ranging patterns  through direct, indirect and remote observations, sampling methods in the study  of  behavior, habitat characterization: ground and remote sensing methods.
  • Methods of estimating population density of animals and plants, ranging patterns  through direct, indirect and remote observations, sampling methods in the study  of  behavior, habitat characterization: ground and remote sensing methods.

Weightage of Questions

Weightage and Pattern of Questions

The weightage and pattern of the exam which candidates will be getting in their respective exams are given below:

  1. Weightage 

Part A 

  • Total No. of Questions: 20
  • No. of Questions You Should Attempt: 15
  • Marking: 2 Marks for each question.
  • Negative Marking: 0.25 marks for each wrong answer.
  • Nature of Questions: Based on General Sciences prioritizing topics from logical reasoning, graphical analysis, analytical and numerical ability, quantitative comparison, series formation, and puzzles.

Part B

  • Total No. of Questions: 50
  • No. of Questions You Should Attempt: 35
  • Marking: 2 Marks for each question.
  • Negative Marking: 0.75 marks for each wrong answer.
  • Nature of Questions: Subject Related Conventional Questions.

Part C

  • Total No. of Questions: 75
  • No. of Questions You Should Attempt: 25
  • Marking: 4 Marks for each question.
  • Negative Marking: No negative marking.
  • Nature of Questions: Scientifically conceptualized questions that will need the application of scientific knowledge.
  1. Pattern 

  • The Life Sciences Question Booklet and OMR Answer Sheets will be distributed to the candidates 15 minutes before the scheduled start of the exam.
  • The MCQ test paper of Life Sciences subject will carry a maximum of 200 marks.
  • Total Time Duration: Three hours.
  • The Life Sciences question paper will be divided in three parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
  • If a question in Life Sciences for any reason found wrong, the benefit of marks will be given to only those candidates who attempt the question.
  • The Life Sciences Question Booklet for this test will be printed in Hindi & English Version. The candidates opting for Hindi medium in the Application Form, will be given bilingual Life Sciences Question Booklet and Candidates opting for English medium will be given Question Booklet printed in English Version only.
  • Total number of questions will be 145.

Important Chapters

The important chapters which will be coming in CSIR UGC NET life sciences are given below.

1 Molecules and their Interaction Relevant to Biology
2 Cell Communication and Cell Signaling
3 System Physiology – Animal
4 Evolution and Behavior
5 Applied Biology

Life Sciences Books

CSIR NET Life Sciences Books

Books play the most crucial role in preparing for any entrance test. There are so many books for Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)-National Eligibility Test (NET) UGC Junior Research Fellowship examination Life Sciences Test 2017 For Joining into JRF or LS 2017 exam preparation, but we must have latest two types of book one for CSIR NET Life Sciences last 10 or 20 years question with solution and another book is for CSIR NET Life Sciences 2017 syllabus wise subjects description and solution. We have found some best CSIR NET Life Sciences books in online which can provide the candidates with the best information,

Given below are the best books for the candidates appearing for CSIR-UGC NET Life Sciences.

Subject Book Name Author
Life Sciences Fundamentals and Practice-1 Pranav Kumar, Usha Minn
Life Sciences UGC CSIR NET/SET Arihant
Life Sciences General Aptitude Theory and Practice Ajay Kumar, Anand Kumar
Life Sciences Catalyst Rupendra Singh, Dr. Madhu Gupta
Life Sciences Fundamentals and Practice-2 Pranav Kumar, Usha Minn
Life Sciences An exclusive approach Rajveer singh chauhan

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.