Zoology Optional

Zoology Optional



1. Non-chordata and Chordata : (a) 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. (b) Protozoa: Locomotion, nutrition, reproduction, sex; General features and life history of Paramaecium, Monocystis. Plasmodium and Leishmania. (c) Porifera: Skeleton, canal system and reproduction. (d) Cnidaria: Polymorphism, defensive structures and their mechanism; coral reefs and their formation; metagenesis; general features and life history of Obelia and Aurelia. (e) Platyhelminthes: Parasitic adaptation; general features and life history of Fasciola and Taenia and their-Pathogenic symptoms. (f) Nemathelminthes: General features, life history, parasitic adaptation of Ascaris and Wuchereria. (g) Annelida: Coelom and metamerism; modes of life in polychaetes; general features and life history of Nereis, earthworm and leach. (h) 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), metapmor phosis in insect and its hormonal regulation, socialbehaviour ofApis and termites. (i) Molluscs: Feeding, respiration, locomotion, general features and life history of Lamellidens, Pila and Sepia. Torsion and detorsion in gastropods. (j) Echinodermata: Feeding, respiration, locomotion, larval forms, general features and life history of Asterias. (k) Protochordata: Origin of chordates; general features and life history of Branchiostoma and Herdmania. (l) Pisces: Respiration, locomotion and migration. (m) Amphibia: Origin of tetrapods, parental care, paedomorphosis. (n) Reptilia; Origin of reptiles, skull types, status of Sphenodon and crocodiles. (o) Aves: Origin of birds, flight adaptation, migration. (p) Mammalia: Origin of mammals, dentition, general features of egg laying mammals, pouchedmammals, aquatic mammals and primates, endocrine glands (pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, pancreas, gonads) and their interrelationships. (q) 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, urinogenital system, brain and sense organs (eye and ear). 2. Ecology : (a) Biosphere: concept of biosphere; biomes, Biogeochemical cycles, Human induced changes in atmosphere including green house effect, ecological succession, biomes and ecotones, community ecology. (b) Concept of ecosystem; structure and function of ecosystem, types of ecosystem, ecological succession, ecological adaptation. (c) Population; characteristics, population dynamics, population stabilization. (d) Biodiversity and diversity conservation of natural resources. (e) Wildlife of India. (f) Remote sensing for sustainable development. (g) Environmental biodegradation; pollution and its impact on biosphere and its prevention.

3. Ethology : (a) Behaviour: Sensory filtering, responsiveness, sign stimuli, learning, and memory, instinct, habituation, conditioning, imprinting. (b) Role of hormones in drive; role of pheromones in alarm spreading; crypsis, predator detection, predator tactics, social hierarchies in primates, social organization in insects; (c) Orientation, navigation, homing; biological rhythms: biological clock, tidal, seasonal and circadian rhythms. (d) Methods of studying animal behaviour including sexual conflict, selfishness, kinship and altruism.

4. Economic Zoology : (a) Apiculture, sericulture, lac culture, carp culture, pearl culture, prawn culture, vermiculture. (b) Major infectious and communicable diseases (malaria, filaria, tuberculosis, cholera and AIDS) their vectors, pathogens and prevention. (c) Cattle and livestock diseases, their pathogen (helminths) and vectors (ticks, mites, Tabanus, Stomoxys). (d) Pests of sugar cane (Pyrilla perpusiella), oil seed (Achaeajanata) and rice (Sitophilus oryzae). (e) Transgenic animals. (f) Medical biotechnology, human genetic disease and genetic counselling, gene therapy. (g) Forensic biotechnology.

5. Biostatistics : 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 : (a) Spectrophotometer, phase contrast and fluorescence microscopy, radioactive tracer, ultra centrifuge, gel . electrophoresis, PCR, ELISA, FISH and chromosome painting. (b) Electron microscopy (TEM, SEM).


1. Cell Biology : (a) 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 movement chromosome type ploytene and lambrush, organization of chromatin, heterochromatin, Cell cycle regulation. (b) Nucleic acid topology, DNA motif, DNA replication, transcription, RNA processing, translation, protein foldings and transport.

2. Genetics : (a) Modern concept of gene, split gene, genetic regulation, genetic, code. (b) Sex chromosomes and their evolution, sex determination in Drosophila and man. (c) Mendel’s laws of inheritance, recombination, linkage, multiple alleles, genetics of blood groups, pedigree analysis, hereditary diseases in man. (d) Mutations and mutagenesis. (e) Recombinant DNA technology, plasmid, cosmid, artificial chromosomes as vectors, transgenics, DNA cloning and whole animal cloning (principles and methods). (f) Gene regulation and expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. (g) Signal molecules, cell death, defects in signaling pathway and consequences. (h) RFLP, RAPD and AFLF and application of RFLP in DNA finger-printing, ribozyme technologies, human genome project, genomics and protomics.

3. Evolution : (a) Theories of origin of life. (b) Theories of evolution; Natural selection, role of mutation in evolution, evolutionary patterns, molecular drive, mimicry, variation, isolation and speciation. (c) Evolution of horse, elephant and man using fossil data. (d) Hardy-Weinberg Law. (e) Continental drift and distribution of animals.

4. Systematics : Zoological nomenclature, international code, cladistics, molecular taxonomy and biodiversity.

5. Biochemistry : (a) Structure and role of carbohydrates, fats, fatty acids, cholesterol, proteins and amino-acids, nucleic acids. Bioenergetics. (b) Glycolysis and Krebs cycle, oxidation and reduc-tion, oxidative phosphorylation; energy conserva-tion and release, ATP, cycl cyclic AMP-its structure and role. (c) Hormone classification (steroid and peptide hor-mones), biosynthesis and functions. (d) Enzymes: types and mechanisms of action. (e) Vitamins and co-enzymes. (f) Immunoglobulin and immunity.

6. Physiology (with special reference to mammals) : (a) 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. (b) Haemoglobin: Composition, types and role in trans-port of oxygen and carbon dioxide. (c) Digestion and absorption: Role of salivary glands, liver, pancreas and intestinal glands. (d) Excretion: nephron and regulation of urine forma-tion; osmo-regulation and excretory product. (e) Muscles: Types, mechanism of contraction of skel-etal muscles, effects of exercise on muscles. (f) Neuron: nerve impulse—its conduction and synap-tic transmission; neurotransmitters. (g) Vision, hearing and olfaction in man. (h) Physiology of reproduction puberty and menopause in human.

7. Developmental Biology : (a) Gametogenesis; spermatogenesis, composition of semen, in vitro and in vivo capacitation of mammalian sperm, Oogenesis, totipotency; fertilization, morphogenesis and morphogen; blastogeneis, 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. (b) Cell lineage, cell to cell interaction, Genetic and in-duced teratogenesis, role of thyroxine in control of metamorphosisin amphibia, paedogenesis and neo-teny, cell death, aging. (c) Developmental genes in man, in vitro fertilization; and embryo transfer; cloning. (d) Stem cells: Sources, types and their use in human welfare. (e) Biogenetic law.

How to prepare for zoology optional for IAS?

Zoology is one of the very popular optional subjects for the UPSC civil service examination. It is a specialized subject so only life sciences graduates can take this optional subject. Zoology can be termed as the scientific study of animals. It is one of the most interesting subjects and can be studied in detail by science graduates. It is one of the most scoring subjects. Also, it has a well-defined syllabus. It is scientific in nature. Here are a few tips that can be used during the time of preparation.


1. Most of the books available are too huge and thick that day before the exam a candidate cannot solely study from it. So it’s always better to make notes out of the available books and study materials. A candidate can refer to various reference books and study material provided by various coaching institutes.

2. Most of the students are unable to manage the time during the exam. This happens because many times a candidate spends a lot of time thinking about an answer to particular questions and this leads to a lot of wastage of time. Instead of this one needs to specify and allocate proper time to each and every question. It will help to finish the paper on time. Also, time management is important to avoid any last-minute hassle. When less time is left and there are more questions left to be answered then many times a candidate marks a wrong answer even if he/she knows the correct answer.

3. If possible then join a coaching center for the preparation. The coaching center will provide you with the study material and other necessary notes which will be fruitful during preparation. Also, you will be able to prepare in a more systematic manner. Most of the coaching institutes take tests on a weekly and monthly basis. This will help you to know where you stand in terms of other students. Giving these tests on a regular basis will boost your confidence and you can easily identify where you are losing marks. Also, try not to repeat the mistakes done in the tests in the final exam.  Thus joining coaching will help you to enhance your preparation in a better way

4. The next strategy is to finish the syllabus before a month or a week before the final exam. Clear all your concepts and understand everything by reading the study material again and again. Once you are done with the syllabus make a study plan and revise the syllabus on a regular basis in a systematic manner. By revision, you will gain confidence and better clarity of all topics. Also, you will be able to identify as which are the topics at which you have proper understanding and others at which you are not so good. Accordingly, you can work upon your strong and weak areas of the syllabus.

5. Another important aspect during preparation is to present the answer in a more systematic manner rather than making a chaotic paragraph with no proper explanations. The presentation of the answer will help you to gain more good marks in the exam and you can ace the mains exams easily.

6. One of the most important aspects to remember during the exam is to maintain consistency. Many times students skip the studies and this hampers the growth of the preparation. So make sure while preparing you don’t give a break in between. Also, give proper time to all topics so as nothing is left uncovered.

7. In order to know what all are the most important topics of the syllabus, it is important to solve previous year question papers. This will help in preparation as you can plan your studies for the subject according to the most important topics which have been coming in the exam from last so many years. Also by solving past year papers you will get an idea as to which all are the topics at which you are good and chances of scoring is more.

8. If candidates join any kind of online or offline coaching for IAS preparation than both of them will offer the mock test series. These mock test series catalyzes the preparation. They offer an atmosphere similar to that of the final exam. After attempting these test series a person gets hang of like what kind of questions can be asked in the final exam. Hence a candidate becomes more comfortable and confident when he/she gives the final examination.

9. Confidence helps to boost your morale during the preparation. It helps to overcome stress which every candidate tends to face every day. Since IAS exam preparation is not easy, so many times candidate feels to give up. But by being confident you can easily overcome the stress and the negative thoughts that occupy your mind. It helps in concentration and you are able to focus more on your studies well. It helps you to remain calm and composed throughout your preparation.  If you have decided that you are going to crack the exam then you can do it. Work with full perseverance and discipline, burn midnight oil to make you dream come true. If you have worked day and night passionately then no force of this world can stop you from achieving your goal.  One day you will come out with flying colors.

10.       A candidate can refer to various reference books and study material provided by various coaching institutes. These books help to clear the concepts of the syllabus by giving a detailed explanation. Also, a variety of books gives multiple choices to the candidate to study. These varieties of books indeed are helpful but at the same time, it is important to make notes. Reading books of thousands of pages before the exam are not possible. To tackle this last moment confusion and chaos, notes play a significant role. The fat books can be reduced to a thin notebook. This helps a lot to revise concepts before the exam. Since revision is most important, therefore proper notes making is also necessary for fruitful results.