Dynamics of endoderm specification.
During early Drosophila embryogenesis, a network of gene regulatory interactions orchestrates terminal patterning, playing a critical role in the subsequent formation of the gut. We utilized CRISPR gene editing at endogenous loci to create live reporters of transcription and light-sheet microscopy to monitor the individual components of the posterior gut patterning network across 90 min prior to gastrulation. We developed a computational approach for fusing imaging datasets of the individual components into a common multivariable trajectory. Data fusion revealed low intrinsic dimensionality of posterior patterning and cell fate specification in wild-type embryos. The simple structure that we uncovered allowed us to construct a model of interactions within the posterior patterning regulatory network and make testable predictions about its dynamics at the protein level. The presented data fusion strategy is a step toward establishing a unified framework that would explore how stochastic spatiotemporal signals give rise to highly reproducible morphogenetic outcomes.