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We constructed a reference atlas of mushroom formation based on developmental transcriptome data of six species and comparisons of >200 whole genomes, to elucidate the core genetic program of complex multicellularity and fruiting body development in mushroom-forming fungi (Agaricomycetes). Nearly 300 conserved gene families and >70 functional groups contained developmentally regulated genes from five to six species, covering functions related to fungal cell wall (FCW) remodeling, targeted protein degradation, signal transduction, adhesion and small secreted proteins (including effector-like orphan genes). Several of these families, including F-box proteins, protein kinases and cadherin-like proteins, showed massive expansions in Agaricomycetes, with many convergently expanded in multicellular plants and/or animals too, reflecting broad genetic convergence among independently evolved complex multicellular lineages. This study provides a novel entry point to studying mushroom development and complex multicellularity in one of the largest clades of complex eukaryotic organisms.

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