Californian doctors believe Silicon Valley's high autism rates could be attributable to the 'computer geek' genes of the Valley's workers.

According to a report on BBC Online, the area sees one in 150 children with some sort of autistic disorder – higher than the rest of the country. The number of autistic children receiving treatment in California rose by 273 per cent between 1987 and 1998.

Researchers at Sacramento's Mind Institute think hi-tech workers in the area may carry genes contributing to the condition.

They also believe that IT workers are more likely to meet and have children with partners from the same industry, who possibly also carry the gene.

However, critics say California's problem may be attributable to better diagnosis in today's medicine.