GATE 2021 syllabus has been released. GATE 2021 syllabus designed for GATE Life Science Exam comprises seven sections, General Aptitude, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Botany, Microbiology, Zoology, Food Technology. Candidates by now can check the subject wise Detailed GATE syllabus


Verbal Aptitude

Basic English grammar: tenses, articles, adjectives, prepositions, conjunctions, verb-noun agreement, and other parts of speech

Basic vocabulary: words, idioms, and phrases in context

Reading and comprehension

Narrative sequencing

Quantitative Aptitude

Data interpretation: data graphs (bar graphs, pie charts, and other graphs representing data), 2- and 3-dimensional plots, maps, and tables

Numerical computation and estimation: ratios, percentages, powers, exponents and logarithms, permutations and combinations, and series

Mensuration and geometry

Elementary statistics and probability

Analytical Aptitude

Logic: deduction and induction


Numerical relations and reasoning

Spatial Aptitude

Transformation of shapes: translation, rotation, scaling, mirroring, assembling, and grouping Paper folding, cutting, and patterns in 2 and 3 dimensions


Section 1: Atomic Structure and Periodicity

Planck's quantum theory

wave particle duality

uncertainty principle

comparison between Bohr's model and quantum mechanical model of hydrogen atom

electronic configuration of atoms and ions

Hund's rule and Pauli's exclusion principle

Periodic table and periodic properties: ionization energy, electron affinity, electronegativity and atomic size.

Section 2: Structure and Bonding

Ionic and covalent bonding

MO and VB approaches for diatomic molecules

VSEPR theory and shape of molecules



dipole moment

structure parameters such as bond length

bond angle and bond energy

hydrogen bonding and van der Waals interactions

Ionic solids, ionic radii and lattice energy (Born-Haber cycle)

HSAB principle.

Section 3: s, p and d Block Elements


halides and hydrides of alkali

alkaline earth metals, B, Al, Si, N, P, and S

General characteristics of 3d elements

Coordination complexes: valence bond and crystal field theory, color, geometry, magnetic properties and isomerism.

Section 4: Chemical Equilibria

Osmotic pressure

elevation of boiling point and depression of freezing point

ionic equilibria in solution

solubility product

common ion effect

hydrolysis of salts


buffer and their applications

Equilibrium constants (Kc, Kp and Kx) for homogeneous reactions.

Section 5: Electrochemistry


Kohlrausch law

cell potentials


Nernst equation

thermodynamic aspects and their applications.

Section 6: Reaction Kinetics

Rate constant

order of reaction


activation energy


first and second order kinetics

catalysis and elementary enzyme reactions

Reversible and irreversible inhibition of enzymes.

Section 7: Thermodynamics

Qualitative treatment of state and path functions

First law

reversible and irreversible processes

internal energy


Kirchoff equation

heat of reaction

Hess's law

heat of formation

Second law

entropy and free energy

Gibbs-Helmholtz equation

free energy change and spontaneity

Free energy changes from equilibrium constant.

Section 8: Structure-Reactivity Correlations and Organic Reaction Mechanisms

Acids and bases

electronic and steric effects


optical and geometrical isomerism


conformers and concept of aromaticity

Elementary treatment of SN1, SN2, E1, E2 and radical reactions

Hoffmann/Saytzeff rules

addition reactions

Markownikoff rule and Kharasch effect

Elementary hydroboration reactions

Grignard's reagents and their uses

Aromatic electrophilic substitutions

orientation effect as exemplified by various functional groups

Identification of common functional groups by chemical tests.

Section 9: Chemistry of Biomolecules

Amino acids


nucleic acids and nucleotides

Peptide sequencing by chemical and enzymatic proteolytic methods

DNA sequencing by chemical and enzymatic methods

Carbohydrates (upto hexoses only)

Lipids (triglycerides only)

Principles of biomolecule purification-Ion exchange and gel filtration chromatography

Identification of these biomolecules and Beer-Lambert's law.


Section 1

Organization of life

Importance of water

Structure and function of biomolecules: Amino acids, Carbohydrates, Lipids, Proteins and Nucleic acids

Protein structure, folding / misfolding and function

Myoglobin, Hemoglobin, Lysozyme, Ribonuclease A, Carboxypeptidase and Chymotrypsin.

Section 2

Enzyme kinetics, regulation and inhibition

Vitamins and Coenzymes; Bioenergetics and metabolism

Generation and utilization of ATP

Metabolic pathways and their regulation: glycolysis, TCA cycle, pentose phosphate pathway, oxidative phosphorylation, gluconeogenesis, glycogen and fatty acid metabolism

Metabolism of Nitrogen containing compounds: nitrogen fixation, amino acids and nucleotides. Photosynthesis, Calvin cycle.

Section 3:Biochemical separation techniques

ion exchange, size exclusion and affinity chromatography, centrifugation; Characterization of biomolecules by electrophoresis

DNA- protein and protein – protein interactions

UV-visible and fluorescence spectroscopy

Mass spectrometry.

Section 4

Cell structure and organelles

Biological membranes

Action potential

Transport across membranes

Membrane assembly and Protein targeting

Signal transduction

Receptor-ligand interaction

Hormones and neurotransmitters.

Section 5

DNA replication, transcription and translation

DNA damage and repair

Biochemical regulation of gene expression

Recombinant DNA technology and applications: PCR, site directed mutagenesis, DNA-microarray

Next generation sequencing

Gene silencing and editing.

Section 6:Immune system

Innate and adaptive

Cell of the immune system

Active and passive immunity

Complement system

Antibody structure, function and diversity

B cell and T Cell receptors

B cell and T cell activation

Major histocompatibilty complex

Immunological techniques: Immunodiffusion, immune-electrophoresis, RIA and ELISA, flow cytometry

monoclonal antibodies and their applications.


Section 1: Plant Systematics

Botanical nomenclature, history of plant taxonomy, diversity and classification of plants, APG system of plant classification

phylogenetics and cladistics, molecular taxonomy and DNA barcoding

Centers for plant taxonomy and herbaria in India.

Section 2: Plant Anatomy

Anatomy of root

stem and leaves

floral organs

embryo and young seedlings

Primary and secondary meristems

stellar organization

vascular system and their ontogeny

xylem and phloem structure

secondary growth in plants and wood anatomy

plant cell structure and differences from animal cells.

Section 3: Plant development

cell and tissue morphogenesis

Life cycle of an angiosperm, development of male and female gametophyte

cell fate determination and tissue patterning

spacing mechanisms in trichomes and stomata

Embryogenesis, organization and function of shoot and root apical meristems

Transition to flowering: photoperiodism and vernalization, ABC model of floral organ patterning, pollen germination, double fertilization, seed development

Xylem and phloem cell differentiation, photomorphogenesis

phytochrome, cryptochrome, phototropin

Role of auxin, cytokinin, gibberellins, and brassinosteroids on plant development.

Section 4: Plant physiology and biochemistry

Plant water relations, mechanisms of uptake and transport of water, ions, solutes from soil to plants, apoplastic and symplastic transport mechanisms

Mechanism of stomatal movements, nitrogen metabolism, photosynthesis

C3, C4 and CAM cycles, photorespiration, respiration: glycolysis, TCA cycle and electron transport chain

Plant responses and mechanisms of abiotic stresses including drought, salinity, freezing and heat stress, metal toxicity

role of abscisic acid in abiotic stresses

Structure and function of biomolecules (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acid), enzyme kinetics

Structure and biosynthesis of major plant secondary metabolites (alkaloids, terpenes, phenylpropanoids, flavonoids)

Biosynthesis, mechanism of action and physiological effects of auxin, cytokinin, gibberellic acids, brassinosteroid, ethylene, strigolactone, abscisic acid, salicylic and jasmonic acid

Senescence and programmed cell death.

Section 5: Genetics and genomics

Cell cycle and cell division

Principles of Mendelian inheritance, linkage, recombination, genetic mapping

extra chromosomal inheritance; Introduction to epigenetics

gene silencing- transgene silencing, post transcriptional gene silencing, miRNA and siRNA

evolution and organization of eukaryotic genome structure, gene expression, gene mutation and repair, chromosomal aberrations (numerical: euploidy and aneuploidy and structural: deletion, duplication, inversion, translocation), transposons

Model organisms for functional genetics and genomics

Introduction to transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics.

Section 6: Plant Breeding, Genetic Modification, Genome Editing

Principles, methods - selection, hybridization, heterosis

male sterility, genetic maps and molecular markers, embryo rescue, haploid and doubled haploids, plant tissue culture: micropropagation, embryo culture and in vitro regeneration, somatic embryogenesis, artificial seed, cryopreservation, somaclonal variation, somatic cell hybridization, marker-assisted selection, gene transfer methods viz. direct and vector-mediated, generation of transgenic plants

Introduction to genome editing: CRISPR/Cas9, Cre-Lox system to generate chimeras

plastid transformation; chemical mutagenesis.

Section 7: Economic and applied Botany

A general account of economically and medicinally important plants- cereals, pulses, plants yielding fibers, timber, sugar, beverages, oils, rubber, pigments, dyes, gums, drugs and narcotics

Economic importance of algae, fungi, lichen and bacteria

Major Indian cash crops

Effect of industrialization on agricultural botany such as plastic on fiber economy

Genetically modified crops and its regulation eg. Bt cotton, Bt brinjal golden rice etc.

Section 8: Plant Pathology

Nature and classification of plant diseases, diseases of important crops caused by fungi, bacteria, nematodes and viruses, and their control measures (chemical and biological) mechanism(s) of pathogenesis, resistance: basal, systemic, induced systemic resistance, gene for gene concept

Molecular detection of pathogens

plant-microbe interactions: symbionts and mycorrhiza, pathogens and pests

Signaling pathways in plant defence response

salicylic acid (SA) and jasmonic acid (JA) in plant-pathogen and plant-herbivore interaction, necrosis

host-parasitic plant interaction (such as Cuscuta).

Section 9: Ecology and Environment

Ecosystems - types, dynamics, degradation, biogeochemical cycles, ecological succession

food webs and energy flow through ecosystem

vegetation types of the world, Indian vegetation types and biogeographical zones, climate and flora endemism

pollution and global climate change, speciation and extinction, biodiversity and conservation strategies, ecological hotspots, afforestation, habitat restoration

plant interactions with other organisms

epiphytes, parasites and endophytes.


Section 1: Historical Perspective

Discovery of microbial world

Landmark discoveries relevant to the field of microbiology

Controversy over spontaneous generation

Role of microorganisms in transformation of organic matter and in the causation of diseases.

Section 2: Methods in Microbiology

Pure culture techniques

Principles of microbial nutrition

Enrichment culture techniques for isolation of microorganisms

antigen and antibody detection methods for microbial diagnosis

Light-, phase contrast-, fluorescence- and electron-microscopy

PCR, real-time PCR for quantitation of microbes

Next generation sequencing technologies in microbiology.

Section 3: Microbial Taxonomy and Diversity

Bacteria, Archea and their broad classification

Eukaryotic microbes: Yeasts, molds and protozoa

Viruses and their classification

Molecular approaches to microbial taxonomy and phylogeny

Section 4: Prokaryotic Cells: Structure and Function

Prokaryotic Cells: cell walls, cell membranes and their biosynthesis, mechanisms of solute transport across membranes, Flagella and Pili, Capsules, Cell inclusions like endospores and gas vesicles

Bacterial locomotion, including positive and negative chemotaxis.

Section 5: Microbial Growth

Definition of growth

Growth curve

Mathematical expression of exponential growth phase

Measurement of growth and growth yields

Synchronous growth

Continuous culture

Effect of environmental factors on growth

Bacterial biofilm and biofouling.

Section 6: Control of Micro-organisms

Disinfection and sterilization: principles, methods and assessment of efficacy.

Section 7: Microbial Metabolism

Energetics: redox reactions and electron carriers

Electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation

An overview of metabolism


Pentose-phosphate pathway

Entner-Doudoroff pathway

Glyoxalate pathway

The citric acid cycle


Aerobic and anaerobic respiration



Calvin cycle

Biosynthetic pathway for fatty acids synthesis

Common regulatory mechanisms in synthesis of amino acids

Regulation of major metabolic pathways.

Section 8: Microbial Diseases and Host Pathogen Interaction

Normal microbiota

Classification of infectious diseases

Reservoirs of infection

Nosocomial infection

Opportunistic infections

Emerging infectious diseases

Mechanism of microbial pathogenicity

Nonspecific defense of host

Antigens and antibodies

Humoral and cell mediated immunity


passive immunization

Immune deficiency

Human diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, and pathogenic fungi.

Section 9: Chemotherapy/Antibiotics

General characteristics of antimicrobial drugs

Antibiotics: Classification molecular mechanism of mode of action and resistance

Antifungal and antiviral drugs

Section 10: Microbial Genetics

Types of mutation; UV and chemical mutagens

Selection of mutants; Ames test for mutagenesis

Bacterial genetic system: transformation, conjugation, transduction, recombination, plasmids, transposons

DNA repair

Regulation of gene expression: repression and induction

Operon model

Bacterial genome with special reference to E.coli

Phage λ and its life cycle

RNA phages

mutation in virus genomes, virus recombination and reassortment

Basic concept of microbial genomics

Section 11: Microbial Ecology

Microbial interactions

Carbon, sulphur and nitrogen cycles

Soil microorganisms associated with vascular plants

Bioremediation; Uncultivable microorganisms

basic concept of metagenomics and metatranscriptomics.


Section 1: Animal Diversity


systematics and classification of animals

phylogenetic relationships (based on classical and molecular phylogenetic tools).

Section 2: Evolution

Origin and history of life on earth

theories of evolution

natural selection



Section 3: Genetics

Basic Principles of inheritance

molecular basis of heredity

sex determination and sex-linked characteristics

cytoplasmic inheritance


recombination and mapping of genes in eukaryotes

population genetics

genetic disorders

roles of model organisms in understanding genetic principles

Section 4: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Nucleic acids


lipids and carbohydrates


transcription and translation

Krebs cycle


enzyme catalysis

hormones and their actions

roles of vitamins and minerals.

Section 5: Cell Biology

Basic principles of cellular microscopy

structure of cell

cytoskeletal organization

cellular organelles and their structure and function

cell cycle

cell division

chromosomes and chromatin structure.

Section 6: Gene expression in Eukaryotes

Eukaryotic genome organization and regulation of gene expression/p>

transposable elements.

Section 7: Animal Anatomy and Physiology

Comparative physiology

the respiratory system

Muscular system

circulatory system

digestive system

the nervous system

the excretory system

the endocrine system

the reproductive system

the skeletal system.

Section 8: Parasitology and Immunology

Nature of parasite

host-parasite relation

protozoan and helminthic parasites

the immune response

cellular and humoral immune response.

Section 9: Development Biology


Embryonic development

cellular differentiation



Model organisms used in developmental biology

genetic and molecular basis of development

stem cells

Section 10: Ecology

The ecosystem

Animal distribution

ecological niche and its contribution to ecological diversity

the food chain

population dynamics

species diversity


biogeochemical cycles

conservation biology


Section 11: Animal Behaviour

Type of behaviours


mating and territoriality


learning and memory

social behaviour across the animal taxa/p>



evolution of behavior in animals.


Section 1: Food Chemistry and Nutrition

Carbohydrates: structure and functional properties of mono-, oligo-, & poly- saccharides including starch, cellulose, pectic substances and dietary fibre, gelatinization and retrogradation of starch

Proteins: classification and structure of proteins in food, biochemical changes in post mortem and tenderization of muscles

Lipids: classification and structure of lipids, rancidity, polymerization and polymorphism

Pigments: carotenoids, chlorophylls, anthocyanins, tannins and myoglobin. Food flavours: terpenes, esters, aldehydes, ketones and quinines

Enzymes: specificity, simple and inhibition kinetics, coenzymes, enzymatic and non- enzymatic browning

Nutrition: balanced diet, essential amino acids and essential fatty acids, protein efficiency ratio, water soluble and fat soluble vitamins, role of minerals in nutrition, co-factors, anti-nutrients, nutraceuticals, nutrient deficiency diseases

Chemical and biochemical changes: changes occur in foods during differentprocessing.

Section 2: Food Microbiology

Characteristics of microorganisms: morphology of bacteria, yeast, mold and actinomycetes, spores and vegetative cells, gram-staining

Microbial growth: growth and death kinetics, serial dilution technique

Food spoilage: spoilage microorganisms in different food products including milk, fish, meat, egg, cereals and their products

Toxins from microbes: pathogens and non-pathogens including Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Shebelle, Escherichia, Bacillus, Clostridium, and Aspergillums genera

Fermented foods and beverages: curd, yoghurt, cheese, pickles, soya-sauce, sauerkraut, idly, dose, vinegar, alcoholic beverages and sausage.

Section 3: Food Products Technology

Processing principles: thermal processing, chilling, freezing, dehydration, addition of preservatives and food additives, irradiation, fermentation, hurdle technology, intermediate moisture foods

Food pack aging and storage: packaging materials, aseptic packaging, controlled and modified atmosphere storage

Cereal processing and products: milling of rice, wheat, and maize, parboiling of paddy, bread, biscuits, extruded products and ready to eat breakfast cereals

Oil processing: expelling, solvent extraction, refining and hydrogenation

Fruits and vegetables processing: extraction, clarification, concentration and packaging of fruit juice, jam, jelly, marmalade, squash, candies, tomato sauce, ketchup, and puree, potato chips, pickles

Plantation crops processing and products: tea, coffee, cocoa, spice, extraction of essential oils and oleoresins from spices

Milk and milk products processing: pasteurization and sterilization, cream, butter, ghee, ice- cream, cheese and milk powder

Processing of animal products: drying, canning, and freezing of fish and meat; production of egg powder

Waste utilization: pectin from fruit wastes, uses of by-products from rice milling

Food standards and quality maintenance: FPO, PFA, A-Mark, ISI, HACCP, food plant sanitation and cleaning in place (CIP).

Section 4: Food Engineering

Mass and energy balance; Momentum transfer: Flow rate and pressure drop relationships for Newtonian fluids flowing through pipe, Reynolds number

Heat transfer: heat transfer by conduction, convection, radiation, heat exchangers

Mass transfer: molecular diffusion and Flick's law, conduction and convective mass transfer, permeability through single and multilayer films

Mechanical operations: size reduction of solids, high pressure homogenization, filtration, centrifugation, settling, sieving, mixing & agitation of liquid

Thermal operations: thermal sterilization, evaporation of liquid foods, hot air drying of solids, spray and freeze-drying, freezing and crystallization

Mass transfer operations: psychometric, humidification and dehumidificationoperations.