Recent large-scale human genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for insomnia have identified more than 200 significant loci. The functional relevance of these loci to the pathogenesis of insomnia is largely unknown. GWAS signals are typically non-coding variants, which are often arbitrarily annotated to the nearest protein-coding gene; however, due to 3D chromatin structure, variants can interact with more distal genes driving their function. The distal gene may, therefore, represent the true causal gene influencing the phenotype. By integrating our high-resolution chromatin interaction maps from neural progenitor cells with phenotypic data from a
DrosophilaRNAi screen, we prioritized candidate genes that we hypothesized would have deep phylogenetic conservation of sleep function. To determine the conservation of these candidate genes in the context of vertebrate sleep and their relevance to insomnia-like behaviors, we performed CRISPR-Cas9 mutagenesis in larval zebrafish for six highly conserved candidate genes and examined sleep-wake behaviors using automated video-tracking. CRISPR mutation of zebrafish orthologs of MEIS1and SKIV2Lproduced insomnia-like behaviors, while mutation of ARFGAP2impaired activity and development in our larval zebrafish model, demonstrating the importance of performing functional validation of GWAS-implicated effector genes to reveal genes influencing disease-relevant mechanisms.