Quantitative models of developmental processes can provide insights at multiple scales. Ultimately, models may be particularly informative for key questions about network level behavior during development such as how does the system respond to environmental perturbation, or operate reliably in different genetic backgrounds? The transcriptional networks that pattern the Drosophila embryo have been the subject of numerous quantitative experimental studies coupled to modeling frameworks in recent years. In this review, we describe three studies that consider these networks at different levels of molecular detail and therefore result in different types of insights. We also discuss other developmental transcriptional networks operating in Drosophila, with the goal of highlighting what additional insights they may provide.
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