Syllabus: 1st year BS (Hons) program

GEB 101: Basic Biology

1. Origin of life
Origin of earth; Age of earth; Scale of Biological time; Prebiological formation of macromolecules; Spontaneous generation of life; From molecules to cells; Microfossils of unicellular organisms; Origin of Eukaryotic cells; Origin of organelles.

2. Bacteria
Bacterial structure & classification; Eubacteria, Archaebacteria and Cyanobacteria; Sexual and asexual reproduction; Important groups of bacteria; Economically important bacteria; Bacterial diseases of plant and human.

3. Viruses
Origin of viruses; Structure of viruses and bacteriophages; Classification; Lytic infection, Lysogeny; Animal and plant viruses.

4. The simpler plants
Algae --- The Green, Brown and Red algae; Fungi --- Slime molds, Water molds, Zygospore forming fungi, Sac fungi, Club fungi, Imperfect fungi; Mycorrhizae and Lichens; The origin of terrestial plants, Bryophytes – Liverworts and Mosses

5. The simpler animals
Protista --- Amoeba, Plasmodium, Paramecium, Cnidaria --- Hydra, Jellyfish, Corals; Platyhelminthes – Tape worm; Nematodes --- Ascaris and other parasitic round worms.

6. Evolution
Overview of major phylogenic and evolutionary trends among the simpler plants and animals

Suggested readings:

1. Starr, C. and Taggart, R., 1989. Biology – The unity and Diversity of Life, Wardsworth Pub. Company USA.
2. Raven, P.H. and Johnson, G.B. 1986. Biology, Times Mirror/Mopsby College Pub. Ltd. St. Louis USA.
3. Attenborough, D. 1979. Life on Earth.

GEB 102: Chemistry for biologists – I

A. Inorganic chemistry

1. Atomic structure; Bohr and Rutherford atom models; Electronic configuration; Atomic radii; ionic radii; Ionization potential; Electron affinity; Electronegativity; Oxidation states.

2. Ionic bonds (general characteristics), types of ions; Covalent bond (general characteristics) ; Coordiante covalent bond; Valence bond approach; Sigma and Pi bonds; Bond length; Bond order; Hydrogen bonds; Van der Wall’s forces; Metallic bond; Concept of coordination complexes; Werner’s theory; Bonding in coordination compounds; Role of inorganic elements in some vital complexes of biological importance e.g. hemoglobin, cytochromes, ferredoxin, chlorophylls.

B. Organic chemistry

1. Chemical bonding reconsidered: Atomic and molecular orbitals; Polarity of bonds; Bond length and bond strength; Bond energy; bond moment and dipole moment; Nucleophiles and electrophiles and their importance in biological systems; Characteristics and type of organic reactions: Addition, elimination, substitution and rearrangement reactions.

2. Aliphatic hydrocarbons (Petroleum and related products); Aliphatic alcohols; Aldehydes and ketones; Acids and their derivative.

3. Basic principles of streochemistry: Cis-trans isomers; Plane polarized light; Optical activity; Chirality and chiral molecules; D & L designation; Absolute configuration.

C. Physical chemistry

1. The basics: mole concept; Avogadro’s number; Normality, Molarity, Molality, Periodic table.

2. Acid and bases: The Bronsted-Lowry acids and bases; The Arrhenius concept; Lewis acids and bases; Physical properties of water; Ionic product of water and pH scale; Ionization of acids and bases; Acid-base indicators; common ion effect; Buffer solution; Buffer capacity; Henderson-Hasselbach equation.

3. Conductance: Faraday’s law of electrolysis; conductivity and its measurement; Equivalent and molar conductance; Variant of equivalent conductivity with concentrations of weak and strong electrolytes.

4. Colligative properties: Dilute solutions; Lowering of vapour pressure; Elevation of boiling point and depression of freezing point; Boyle’s and Charles’ law; Raoult’s law.

Suggested readings:

1. Atkins, P.W. 1989. A General Chemistry, W.H. Freeman and Company, New York.
2. Gillespie, R.J., Humpherys, D.A., Bairds, N.C. and Robinson, E.A. 1989. Chemistry., Allyn and Bacon Inc. Boston.
3. Eliel, 1962. Stereochemistry of carbon compounds.
4. Atkins and Carey, 1991. Organic chemistry: A short course, McGraw Hill Publishing Company.
5. Morris, J. G. A Biologist’s Physical Chemistry.

GEB 103: Basic Biochemistry

1. Concept of life and living processes – The identifying characteristics of a living matter

2. The Cell - A Brief Introduction

Historical background: Advent of Microscopy; Cell theory; Modern techniques of study e.g Cell fractionation; Development of Electron Microscopy; Cell size and structure; Structure of Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells, Cell division: Mitosis and Meiosis

3. Cell membrane System and Cell wall

Cell Membrane and its Organization; Elementary idea of cellular constituents: Nucleus, Mitochondria, Golgi bodies, Endoplasmic reticulum, Lysosomes and Microbodies; Bacterial and Plant Cell walls.

4. Biomolecules

The small molecules of life – Sugars, organic acids, amino acids and nucleotides
Macromolecules of life: polysaccharides, fats, proteins and nucleic acids; General idea of primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures.

5. Nucleus and Heredity

Nuclear membrane; Nucleolus; Nuclear pores; Chromosomes; Packaging of DNA; DNA as Genetic material; DNA replication- basic concept; From DNA to RNA; Ribosomes and protein synthesis.

6. Mitochondria and Release of Energy

Structure, organization and function; Elementary account of Glycolysis and Krebs cycle and role of mitochondria in the later process

7. Chloroplasts: Capturing energy from the sun

Structure, organization and function; Basic information on ‘light’ and ‘dark’ reactions of photosynthesis and participation of chloroplast in the process.

Suggested readings:

1. Lehninger, Albert L. 1978. Biochemistry., M/s Worth Publishers Inc,, New York
2. Lehninger, Albert L. 1978. Principles of Biochemistry., M/s Worth Publishers Inc,, New York .
3. Matthews & Van Holde, 2nd Ed. Biochemistry, Benjamin Cummings Pub. Co.
4. Stryer, L. 4th Ed. Biochemistry.
5. Rawn, 1989. Biochemistry.
6. Voet & Voet, 1991. Biochemistry.

GEB 104: Basic Microbiology

1. Historical development of microbiology

Concept of origin of life- abiogenesis and biogenesis; Spontaneous generation theory; Involvement of microorganisms in fermentaion; Contributions of Louis Pasture, Robert Koch, Alexander Fleming, S.A. Waksman and others in the development of microbiology and their early discoveries. Development of microscopy and characteristic of different types of microscopes.

2. Microbial world- systemic position of microorganisms

Bacteria: Nutritional aspects of bacterial cultivation media; composition; types and sterilization, growth and reproduction, isolation of pure culture from natural sources, enumeration and preservation culture.

Fungi: Brief outline on growth and reproduction; importance in natural process

Viruses: Classification with representative examples; TMV and l phage, lytic cycle and lysogeny

Actinomycetes: Importance in industry and natural process

Method of isolation and identification from different sources and environments; Protists, Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic microorganisms and their differentiation. Nutrient requirement of microorganisms; Carbon, nitrogen and mineral metabolism; Autotrophic, heterotrophic and chemilithotrophic microorganisms; Growth of microorgnisms, Generation time, Different phase of growth curve; Biosynthetic substances produce by microorganisms; importance of microorganisms in industrial process and agriculture.

3. Microbes and diseases

Natural resistance, pathogenecity and virulence, microbial toxins, transmission and prevention of common infectious diseases e.g. Cholera, Tuberculosis, Tetanus.

Suggested readings:

1. Brock, T.D. and Madigan, M.T. Biology of Microorganisms, Prentice Hall International, 1997.
2. Tortora, Funke and Case, Microbiology an Introduction, Addison Wesley longman Inc, 1997.
3. Atlas, R.M., Principles of Microbiology, 2nd Ed. Wm.C. Brown Publishers, 1997.
4. Pelczer & Reid, Microbiology.

GEB 105: Fundamentals of Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology

1. Biotechnology

Definition; History and multidisciplinary nature of Biotechnology; Introduction to some important components - Tissue culture, genetic engineering

2. Introduction to cell and tissue culture techniques

History: Basic techniques, Culture requirements, Totipotency, Haploids, micropropagation, Protoplast isolation and fusion; Somatic hybrids; Growth of animal cells in vitro.

3. Recombinant DNA technology

Scope: Gene cloning - concept and basic steps; application of bacteria and viruses in genetic engineering; Molecular biology of E. coli and bacteriophages in the context of their use in genetic engineering.

4. Gene cloning

Restriction endonucleases, ligases and other enzymes useful in gene cloning, PCR technology for gene/DNA detection, cDNA, usages of plasmid and phages as vectors; Model vectors for eukaryotes - Viruses, Use of Agrobacterium for genetic engineering in plants; Gene libraries; Use of marker genes.

5. Current trends in Biotechnology

(a) Scope of Biotechnology for research
(b) Agriculture related applications: Plant character amenable to change by biotechnology -- seed quality, photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation, herbicide resistance.
(c) Medicine related applications: Commercial synthesis of hormones, vaccines etc., Gene therapy, Disease diagnosis.
(d) Microbial applications: Large scale preparation of organic chemicals, biomining, microorganisms as feed of livestock.
(e) Biotechnology in service of environment-related applications: Pollution control, waste disposal, biogas.
(f) Livestock improvement: Dairy products, meat quality
(g) Monoclonal antibodies and their applications.

Suggested readings:

1. Watson, J.D., Tooze, J. and Kurtz, D.T. 1983. Recombinant DNA: Ashort Course, Scientific American Books, New York.
2. Drlica, K. 1984., understanding DNA and Gene Cloning: A Guide for the Curious, John Wiely & Sons, New York.
3. Steven, P., 1984., Biotechnology – A New Industrial Revolution, George Braziller Inc. USA.
4. Antebi, E. and Fishlock, D. 1986. Biotechnology, The MIT Press, USA.
5. Marx, J.L., 1989. A Revolution in Biotechnology, Cambridge Univ. Press, UK.
6. Old, Principles of Gene Manipulation and Introduction to Genetic Engineering, 3rd Ed.
7. Koshland, Biotechnology.
8. Smith, 1996, Biotechnology.
9. Rehm, 1986. Biotechnology.
10. Brown, 1987. Introduction to Biotechnology.
11. Kingsman and Kingsman, 1988, Genetic Engineering.

GEB 106: FCL English Language

Advanced Language Skills
Grammar Review

1. Articles: definite and indefinite and one, a little, a few, this, that.
2. Prepositions: also prepositions used with adjectives and participles, verbs and prepositions gerunds and prepositions, prepositions/adverbs.
3. Relative pronouns and clauses.
4. Verbs: Classes of verbs and Auxillary verbs (be, have, do, may, can, might, should, need etc.
5. Agreement of the verb with the subject.
6. Tense: The present tense, the past and perfect tense, the future tense
7. The conditionals: The conditional tenses, and conditional sentence type 1,2 and 3
8. The Gerund: form and use
9. Active and Passive Voice.
10. Clauses of reason, result concession, comparison, time etc.

A Practical English Grammar, A.J. Thomson and A.V. Martinet.


The aim of this course is to provide students the exposure to different kinds of scientific writing he will be encoutering in his studies. Close textual reading will enable the students to make deductions and draw logical conclusions from what he reads. Teachers however can start with more general readings. The texts suggested in the reference are of that nature.

1. Practical faster Reading – Mosbac
2. Beyond Words

Reading and Thinking in English

The series consists of four books which are graded according to the level of complexity. Teachers need to figure out which level will be appropriate.

1. Concepts in use
2. Explaining Functions
3. Discovering Discourse
4. Discourse in action

English study series Book 1, 2, 3 & 4, William F. Hawkins, Ronald Mackin.

Advanced English comprehension

Texts for Science Students, Michael Amithies, Collier-Macmillan Publishers, London.
(Judiciously selected extracts from scientific journals and magazines)


The aim of this aspect of the programme is to enable students to express themselves appropriately when dealing with scientific topics at the same time enhance their knowledge of non-scientific English.


1. Introduction to scientific statements
2. Dimensions and properties
3. Comparison and Models
4. Impersonal Scientific Statements
5. More Informative statements
6. Definitions
7. Experimental and Explanatory Descriptions
8. Further works on Descriptions
9. More Concise Statements
10. Tables and Graphs

Writing Scientific English, John Swales, 51 York Palace Edingurgh.

Writing paragraphs

1. Developing paragraphs
2. Organizing Coherent paragraphs
3. Combining Methods of Organization


1. From Paragraph to Essay, Imhoof
3. English Grammar and Composition, Houghton Miffin

Writing Reports

Explaining/interpreting diagrams, charts, graphs and statistical data.

Writing A Research Paper

Planning the research paper
Doing the research
Taking notes
Organizing the information
Drafting and Documenting the paper
Revising and Editing the paper.


GEB 107: Practical

Practicals based on courses GEB:101, GEB:102, GEB:103, GEB:104 and GEB:105

GEB 108: Viva voce

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