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As a botany amateur, I know that mushrooms (which are of course studied in field of mycology and not botany) are dependent in trees or shrubs (and maybe also bushes) and that there are generally strong symbiotic relations between trees and mushrooms.

If mushrooms are strongly tree dependent and appear per tree species, is it true to say that the genome of trees includes the genome of mushrooms by some mechanism?

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  • $\begingroup$ Are mushrooms in general symbiotic with trees - that is, does the tree derive some benefit - or are they parasitic? Indeed, from casual observation it seems as though a good many mushrooms only live on dead trees... $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Sep 27 '19 at 3:12
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No.

Evidence: If you go to the TreeGenes site and examine those tree genomes that have been sequenced you won’t find any fungal chromosome sequences. (And vice versa.)

Reason: Although trees and mushrooms may develop symbiotic relationships they are independently viable (at least the trees), and even two organisms that can only survive in a symbiotic relationship have separate nuclei with separate chromosomes. They are distinguishable, so they are distinguished.

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    $\begingroup$ Such a shame that the only sourced answer gets downvoted. +1 $\endgroup$ – AliceD Sep 27 '19 at 12:01
  • $\begingroup$ Hello David. Thank you for the answer. One thing I misunderstood when reading it is this: they are independently viable (at least the trees). Please consider further explaining this. Thanks anyway, $\endgroup$ – user22497 Nov 16 '19 at 10:47
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnDoea — I mean that the trees can exist without the fungi. I do not know about the parasitic fungi, but imagine that they may also be able to do so, or at least evolved independently. $\endgroup$ – David Nov 16 '19 at 22:34
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A symbiotic relationship is entirely unrelated to the genetic origins of the participating organisms. Symbiosis only requires that the organisms interact in a manner that benefits both parties. There is nothing that requires any genetic similarity between symbiotic organisms. You may happen to find that particular species of trees and mushrooms do indeed share parts of their genome, but whether or not they are symbiotic has no bearing on that.

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The word genome gets tossed around a lot but it really is a technical term. The genome is the total heritable genetic information carried by a cell or organism. It is possible for one organism to incorporate the DNA of another into its genome, for example, extrachromosomal plasmid DNA found in E-coli, however in this case its not like the tree is incorporating the DNA of the mushroom into its cells. It's possible that depending on their evolutionary relation there is consensus between their genome in the form of homologous genes, but thats due to shared ancestry, not their symbiosis.

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You are suggesting gene transfer horizontally from funghi to plants. Rephrase "encapsulate whole genomes" to "include some genes" and you would be correct:

Most plant–fungus horizontal gene transfer events are ancient and rare, but they may have provided important gene functions leading to wider substrate use and habitat spread for plants and fungi. Since these events are rare and ancient, they have been difficult to detect and remain relatively unknown. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant%E2%80%93fungus_horizontal_gene_transfer?wprov=sfla1

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