Thursday, September 8, 2011


Ms. Shanmugapriya IAS
· I chose botany because 5 chapters of syllabus out of 10 overlapped with my graduation papers. Extensive subject knowledge and making yourself strong in concepts help to clear botany preliminary exam. Selective and thorough reading help to clear Mains.

· Botany can be an ideal choice for graduates in botany, zoology, agriculture, biotechnology, life sciences, medicine, pharmacy, veterinary, forestry, dental, etc. These candidates have a fairly good idea of the subject and do not have the fear of scientific terminologies and botanical names of plants.

· Paper-1
1. short notes on prions, viruses, uses and diseases of bacteria, fungi, microbiology applications in pollution control; read three important diseases each caused by bacteria, fungi, nematodes and viruses; read all important diseases of rice, wheat, sugarcane and potato, along with symptoms and control measures. Mechanisms of defence in plants is an interesting question. Fungal toxins and plant quarantine usually are apt for short notes.

2. analysis of evolutionary trends in structure and reproduction of cryptogams. Make notes on similarities and differences among thallo, bryo and pteridophyta. Distribution of cryptogams may be a short note. Economic and ecological significance of algae and fungi are high scoring areas. Don’t miss out question on them.

3. general features of cycadofilicales, bennettitales and cordaitales are part of new syllabus and are possible questions in recent years. Ginkgoales and gnetales are favorites for type study. Fossils and palynology applications can be studied together. Prepare notes for each family under systematics. Make note of characteristic inflorescence type, placentation, fruit type, aestivation and characteristic example of each family. Practice floral diagrams. Give extra note to all five monocot families. Taxonomy types can be a short answer. Combine anatomy of C3 and C4 plants with C3-C4 mechanisms of physiology chapter (paper-2). Embryo development and endosperm are important topics. Practice diagrams.

4. plant introduction and theories of plant origin are important. Do not skip de Candolle’s theory. Score will improve if you specify points of contrast between de Candolle and Vavilov. Like statistics in general studies,full marks can be scored in plant resource (food, fibre, beverages, spices, oils, insecticides, perfumes). Ethnobotany and herbaria are probable short questions.

5. micropropagation and tissue culture are sure questions. Either the procedure or the applications is asked every year. Add flowcharts and figures to your answer.

· Paper-2
1. cell organelles, ECM, membrane transport and cell cycle are important for essay question. A single organelle can be asked for short notes. Structural variations, polytene, lampbrush and B chromosomes aremain areas. Nuclear pore complex is a relatively new discovery and might be asked.

2. genetics needs more importance as it is asked both in short notes and as essay. All Mendel concepts and
gene mapping, sex linked inheritance and genetic codes are important. Cytoplasmic male sterility is very very important. Evidences for various evolution theories are easy to remember and high scoring.

3. notes for plant breeding methods are not available easily. If you study other topics in this chapter, breeding methods can be comfortably skipped out. Mutation, DNA sequencing are main areas. All techniques –Southern blot, PCR, FISH, RFLP, RAPD are to be noted. Figures and flowcharts add marks. For questions on biostatistics, supplement answers with tables and graphs wherever needed.

4. the most important chapter is physiology. It is also believed by a lot as the most difficult area of all.Understand the concepts and prepare flowcharts for each metabolic cycle. Diagrammatic answers will be more presentable than running notes. Use black pen or pencil for drawing figures. Photosynthesis and respiration, C3-C4-CAM and photorespiration are must-read topics. Newer fields of study that can be asked by paper-setters are phloem transport, chemiosmotic theory, secondary metabolites, phytochrome and stress physiology.

5. definitely high-scoring questions will come from this chapter. Plant indicators, hydrosere, xerosere, IPR, IUCN and red data books, endangered plants and Environmental impact assessment. Most topics in this chapter are related to current affairs and preparation can be clubbed with G.S. paper

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