Zoology Optional Books and Syllabus for UPSC Exam

UPSC is one of the most prestigious exams in the country that enables aspirants to select their preferred optional subject. The UPSC offers zoology as an optional subject for the civil services mains exam. It is the most common optional subject among the students of life sciences who are interested in taking the IAS exam. Since zoology is a specialized science subject, only life sciences graduates or doctors are advised to pursue it as an optional.

Animal anatomy, genetics, physiology, ecology, biochemistry, conservation, evolution, and behavior are all topics studied in zoology. It’s a compelling and fascinating subject with a lot of potential for the UPSC exam. If you have a relevant background, this is one of the best options available to you. Before deciding on a preparation plan, you can familiarize yourself with the IAS optional Zoology syllabus.

Having Zoology as an optional subject comes with numerous benefits. Firstly, because of its specific and scientific nature, zoology is considered a scoring subject. It is objective and will result in high grades if the responses are delivered accurately and neatly. Secondly, it has a well-defined curriculum that is mostly static in nature. Moreover, because of the nature of the questions posed in Zoology, many aspirants regard it as a safe choice. Unlike some humanities subjects such as political science or public administration, the questions asked here are usually more straightforward and simpler. There are two optional papers of 250 marks each.

Books to Refer for Zoology optional for UPSC Exam

Zoology optional is not a popular subject like many other subjects. But this subject is popular among life sciences students. Since most of the questions asked in zoology optional exams are straightforward, referring relevant books can be very helpful in scoring good marks. Referring through books is all you need to crack exams. Botany optional upsc books provide all relevant topics required for the exam. Here are some of the best botany optional upsc books you can refer :

  • Economic Zoology – Shukla and Upadhaya, Kotpal Series, Kotpal- Khetrapal – Agarwal
  • Ethology – Reena Mathur, Magazines like Science Reporter, Nature etc.
  • General Zoology – Storer and Usurger
  • Physiology – H.R. Singh
  • Evolution – Vir Bala Rastogi
  • A Dictionary of Entomology – Leftwich
  • Modern Textbook of Zoology – Invertebrates by RL Kotpal
  • Modern Textbook Of Zoology: Vertebrates by RL Kotpal
  • Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry – David L Nelson
  • Ganong’s Review of Medical Physiology
  • Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology
  • An Introduction to Embryology by AK Berry
  • Invertebrates – R.L. Kotpal, Nigam, Jordan
  • Vertebrates – R.L. Kotpal, Nigam, Jordan and Varma
  • Comparative anatomy of vertebrate zoology – Kent
  • Organic evolution – Veer Bala Rastogi
  • Ecology – P.D. Sharma, Odum, Vir Bala Rastogi and M.S. Jayaraj, Kotpal and Bali
  • Cell and Molecular Biology – De Robertis, C.B. Powar
  • Genetics – P.K. Gupta, Gardner, Ahluwalia, Vir Bala Rastogi
  • Invertebrates – R.L. Kotpal, Nigam, Jordan
  • Animal physiology – H.R. Singh, Vander
  • Biochemistry – Harper, Leninger,
  • Animal Behaviour by Reena Mathur
  • Embryology – Balinsky, A.K. Berry, Vir Bala Rastogi

Zoology Optional Syllabus Paper-I  

  • Chordata and Non-Chordata:
  • Relationship and classification of several phyla up to subclasses: Protostomes and Deuterostomes, Coelomate and Acoelomate, Radiata and Bilateria; Status of Parazoa, Protista, Hemichordata and Onychophora; Symmetry.
  • Protozoa: Nutrition, reproduction, locomotion, sex; Life history and general features of Plasmodium, Paramaecium, Leishmania and Monocystis.
  • Porifera: canal system, reproduction and skeleton.
  •  Platyhelminthes: Life history and general features of Taenia and Fasciola along with their pathogenic symptoms.
  • Mollusca: General features, life history, respiration, larval forms, locomotion and feeding of Pila and Sepia, Lamellidens, detorsion and torsion in gastropods.
  • Ecology
  • Concept of ecosystem; Types of ecosystem, function and structure of ecosystem, ecological adaptation and ecological succession.
  • Biosphere: Biogeochemical cycles, concept of biosphere, changes in the environment induced by humans such as ecological succession, community ecology, greenhouse effect, ecotones and biomes.
  • Population; Population stabilization, population dynamics, characteristics.
  • Ethology
  • Behavior: Learning and memory, Sensory filtering, sign stimuli, instinct, habituation, responsiveness, imprinting, conditioning.
  •  Hormones role in drive; Pheromones’ role in alarm dissemination; predator detection, crypsis, predator tactics, social organization in insects, social hierarchies in primates.
  • Orientation, biological rhythms, tidal, navigation, biological clock, homing, seasonal and circadian rhythms.
  • Methods to study the behavior of animals: It includes altruism, sexual conflict, kinship and selfishness.
  • Economic Zoology:
  • Communicable diseases: Tuberculosis, filaria, AIDS, cholera and malaria. This also includes their pathogens, vectors and prevention.
  • Apiculture, lac culture, sericulture, pearl culture, carp culture, vermiculture, prawn culture.
  • Livestock and cattle diseases: This includes their vectors (Tabanus, ticks, mites, Stomoxys) and pathogen (helminthes).
  •  Medical biotechnology, Gene therapy, genetic counselling and human genetic disease

Zoology Optional Syllabus Paper-II

  • Cell Biology
  • Function and structure of cell: This includes organelles of cell (nucleus, mitochondria, plasma membrane, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi bodies, lysosomes, and ribosomes), cell division (meiosis and mitosis), mitotic apparatus and mitotic spindle, chromosome type lampbrush and polytene, Cell cycle regulation, chromosome movements.
  • Nucleic acid topology, DNA replication, DNA motif, RNA processing, translation, transcription, protein transport and folding.
  • Genetics
  • Mendel’s laws of inheritance, linkage, recombination, multiple alleles, pedigree analysis, genetics of blood groups, hereditary diseases in man.
  • Modern concept of gene, genetic code, genetic regulation and split gene.
  • Recombinant DNA technology; cosmid, plasmid, transgenic, DNA cloning, artificial chromosomes as vectors, methods and principles of whole animal cloning.
  • Evolution
  • Theories of evolution; Role of mutations in evolution, Natural selection, molecular drive, evolutionary patterns, mimicry, isolation variation, and speciation.
  • Evolution of man, horseandelephant using fossil data.
  • Developmental Biology
  • Gametogenesis; composition of semen, spermatogenesis, in vivo and in vitro capacitation of the sperm of mammals, totipotency; fertilization, Oogenesis, morphogen and morphogenesis, blastogenesis, fate map, gestulation in chick and frog; homeotic genes, development of heart, eye and placenta in mammals.
  •  Cell lineage, Induced and genetic teratogenesis, cell-to cell interaction, paedogenesis and neoteny, aging and cell death.
  • Stem cells: Types, sources and the use of these cells in human welfare.

Bottom Line

This article thoroughly discusses IAS optional syllabus for Zoology. If you have chosen this option, go over the syllabus thoroughly so that you are familiar with every aspect of it. Never begin studying without first thoroughly reviewing the syllabus. Plan ahead and have a good and distinct strategy for your study.

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