No, there’s not just one, or even close to it, but the discovery of the first autism genetic link is huge, huge, huge!
First, even though it’s only common to about 15 percent of purported autism cases, it will improve diagnosis. That includes lessening MISdiagnosis.
And that, with today’s autism hysteria, is far and away from a small issue.
As I’ve blogged before, it’s quite possible a change in psychiatry’s bible, the DSM, basically “invented” Asperger’s syndrome, by changing “schizoid disorder of childhood” in DSM-III to Asperger’s in DSM-IV. Then, if Asperger’s has been “updiagnosed” to autism, especially by alt/pseudomedical practitioners seeking to sell a cure, there’s part, at least of your “autism” explosion. Finding this gene, if it holds up, and even more, if others are found, will combat such things.
Second, speaking of autism hysteria, an autism gene shoves conspiracy mongering, anti-medicine inanity, etc., right in the face of the anti-vaccine crowd.
Third, as the mutation affects nerve synapses, it would seem to be the “right,” explanatorily speaking, kind of mutation.
Now, that all said, this genetic mutation is not at all exclusive to people with autism.
And, this may be a blind alley. I’m thinking this could be a primo example of why medical research needs to tighten the incredible looseness of its p-values. No, not to the same as physics. Of course not. But, even a p-value of 3 percent, instead of 5 percent, would exclude semi-bad medical research while being highly unlikely to delay any lifesaving findings.