Highly analytical couples, such as scientists, may be more likely to produce children with autism, an expert has argued.
Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, of the University of Cambridge, said the phenomenon may help explain the recent rise in diagnoses.
He believes the genes which make some analytical may also impair their social and communication skills.
A weakness in these areas is the key characteristic of autism.
It is thought that around one child in every 100 has a form of autism – the vast majority of those affected are boys.
The number of diagnoses seems to be on the increase, but
some argue this is simply because of a greater awareness of the
In a paper published in the journal Archives of Disease
of Childhood, Professor Baron-Cohen labels people such as scientists,
mathematicians and engineers as ‘systemizers’.
They are skilled at analysing systems – whether it be a vehicle, or a maths equation – to figure out how they work.
But they also tend to be less interested in the social
side of life, and can exhibit behaviour such as an obsession with
detail – classic traits associated with autism.