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Syllabus for the ICAR SRF-NET Exam in Plant Biotechnology

Syllabus for the ICAR SRF-NET Exam in Plant Biotechnology

Agricultural Biotechnology/Biotechnology/Molecular Biology & Biotechnology

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Unit 1: Cell Structure and Function

  • Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell architecture
  • Cell wall, plasma membrane
  • Structure and function of cell organelles: Nucleus, vacuoles, mitochondria, plastids, Golgi apparatus, ER, lysosomes, peroxisomes, glyoxisomes
  • Cell cycle - Regulation of cell cycle
  • Cell division, growth, and differentiation
  • Protein secretion and targeting
  • Transport across cell membrane
  • Cell signaling
  • Developmental biology of plants
  • Programmed cell death (apoptosis)
  • Cell renewal and cancer
  • Stem cell applications

Unit 2: Biomolecules and Metabolism

  • Structure and function of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids
  • Synthesis of carbohydrates
  • Glycolysis
  • HMP
  • Citric acid cycle and metabolic regulation
  • Oxidative phosphorylation and substrate-level phosphorylation
  • Vitamins, plant and animal hormones
  • Functional molecules, antioxidants, nutrient precursors
  • HSPs (Heat Shock Proteins)
  • Anti-viral compounds

Unit 3: Enzymology

  • Enzymes - structure, conformation, classification
  • Assay, isolation, purification, and characterization of enzymes
  • Catalytic specificity
  • Mechanism of action
  • Active site
  • Regulation of enzyme activity
  • Multienzyme complexes
  • Immobilized enzymes and protein engineering
  • Application of immobilized enzymes

Unit 4: Molecular Genetics

  • Concept of a gene
  • Prokaryotes as a genetic system
  • Prokaryotic and eukaryotic chromosomes
  • Methods of gene isolation and identification
  • Split genes, overlapping genes, and pseudogenes
  • Organization of prokaryotic and eukaryotic genes and genomes, including operon, exon, intron, enhancer, promoter sequences, and other regulatory elements
  • Mutation - spontaneous, induced, and site-directed
  • Recombination in bacteria, fungi, and viruses
  • Transformation, transduction, conjugation
  • Transposable elements and transposition

Unit 5: Gene Expression

  • Expression of genetic information
  • Operon concept
  • Mechanism of transcription in prokaryotes and eukaryotes
  • Transcription unit
  • Regulatory sequences and enhancers
  • Activators and repressors
  • Co-activators and co-repressors in prokaryotes and eukaryotes
  • Inducible genes and promoters
  • Transcription factors
  • Post-transcriptional modification and protein transport
  • DNA-protein interaction
  • Genetic code
  • Mechanism of translation and its control
  • Post-translational modifications
  • Epigenetic control of gene expression
  • Regulatory RNA in gene regulation - Small RNAs, RNA interference, and its applications

Unit 6: Molecular Biology Techniques

  • Isolation and purification of nucleic acids
  • Nucleic acids hybridization: Southern, northern, and western blotting hybridization
  • Immune response, monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, and ELISA
  • DNA sequencing
  • Construction and screening of genomic and cDNA libraries
  • Gel electrophoretic techniques
  • Spectroscopy
  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR), real-time PCR, RT-PCR
  • Ultracentrifugation, chromatography, FISH, RIA, etc.
  • Next-generation genome sequencing techniques
  • Basic bioinformatics
  • Microarray, etc.
  • Proteomics, 2D, and protein sequencing
  • Metabolomics

Unit 7: Gene Cloning

  • DNA manipulative and modifying enzymes - restriction enzymes and their uses
  • Salient features and uses of most commonly used vectors: plasmids, bacteriophages, phagemids, cosmids, BACs, PACs, and YACs, binary vectors, expression vectors
  • Gateway cloning vectors
  • Gene cloning and sub-cloning strategies
  • Chromosome walking
  • Genetic transformation
  • Basis of animal cloning
  • Gene pyramiding and gene fusion
  • Ribozyme technology
  • Biological risk assessment and IPR (Intellectual Property Rights)

Unit 8: Molecular Biology

  • Genome complexity - C value and C-value paradox; DNA re-association kinetics
  • Analysis of repetitive sequences
  • Molecular events in DNA replication, transcription, and translation
  • RNA processing and post-transcriptional modifications
  • Ribosome structure and function
  • Protein biosynthesis in prokaryotes and eukaryotes
  • Post-translational modification
  • Gene regulation
  • DNA damage - types and repair mechanisms
  • Bioprospecting
  • Non-coding RNA

Unit 9: Plant Molecular Biology

  • Photoregulation and phytochrome regulation of nuclear and chloroplastic gene expression
  • Molecular mechanism of nitrogen fixation
  • Advances in conversion of C3 to C4 pathway
  • Molecular biology of various stresses: abiotic stresses like drought, salt, heavy metals, and temperature; biotic stresses like bacterial, fungal, and viral diseases
  • Signal transduction and its molecular basis
  • Molecular mechanism of plant hormone action
  • Hormone regulatory pathways
  • Mitochondrial control of fertility
  • Structure, organization, and regulation of nuclear genes concerning storage proteins and starch synthesis
  • Crop genome sequencing projects

Unit 10: Tissue Culture

  • Basic techniques in cell culture and somatic cell genetics
  • Clonal propagation
  • Concept of cellular totipotency
  • Androgenesis and gynogenesis
  • Somaclonal and gametoclonal variations
  • Hybrid embryo culture and embryo rescue
  • Somatic hybridization and cybridization
  • Application of tissue culture in crop improvement
  • Secondary metabolite production
  • In vitro mutagenesis
  • Cryopreservation and plant tissue culture repository
  • Synthetic seeds
  • Virus indexing
  • Unit 11: Plant Genetic Engineering
  • Isolation of genes of economic importance
  • Gene constructs for tissue-specific expression
  • Different methods of gene transfer to plants: direct and vector-mediated
  • Molecular analysis of transformants
  • RNAi technology
  • Cisgenesis
  • Molecular pharming, bioremediation
  • GM detection methods
  • Resistance management strategies for target traits
  • Potential applications of plant genetic engineering for crop improvement
  • Insect-pest resistance (insect, viral, fungal, and bacterial disease resistance)
  • Abiotic stress resistance
  • Herbicide resistance
  • Storage protein quality
  • Increasing shelf-life
  • Oil quality
  • Biofortification
  • Genetic engineering for pollination control
  • Induction of male sterility in plants
  • Current status of transgenics, biosafety norms, and controlled field trials and release of transgenics (GMOs)
  • IPR
  • Genome editing techniques

Unit 12: Molecular Markers and Genomics

  • DNA molecular markers: Principles, types, and applications
  • Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP)
  • Randomly amplified polymorphic DNA sequences (RAPD)
  • Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP)
  • Simple sequence repeats (SSR)
  • Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)
  • DaRT, SRAP, TRAP markers
  • Structural and functional genomics
  • Gene mapping
  • Genome mapping: GWAS and Genomic selection
  • Gene tagging and comparative genomics and application of genomics
  • TILLING and ECOTILLING applications
  • Development of mapping population and types of mapping populations: RILs, NILs, F2, BILs, DH, MAGIC, Mutant populations
  • Linkage mapping
  • Association mapping
  • Molecular mapping of complex traits
  • Marker Assisted Selection (MAS)
  • Other applications of markers: MABC, MARS, and Genomic Selection
  • DNA fingerprinting and barcoding
  • Phylogeography, conservation genetics
  • DNA chips and their use in transcriptome analysis
  • Mutants and RNAi in functional genomics
  • Proteomics, Metabolomics, and ionomics


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