The finding is both the "most desirable (and) the most unexpected result" of the experiments, Dr. Bird said in a statement.
Huda Zoghbi, M.D., of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston -- who discovered that the syndrome is caused by MECP2 mutations -- called the findings "extraordinary."
And, since MECP2 mutations are now being seen in some cases of childhood schizophrenia, classic autism and learning disabilities, the results may have a wider application than just to Rett syndrome, she said.
"If we can develop therapies to address the loss of MECP2 we may be able to reverse neurological damage in children and adults with Rett, autism and related neuropsychiatric disorders," said Dr. Zoghbi, who was not involved with the Edinburgh research.
However, the researchers cautioned that the "experiments do not suggest an immediate therapeutic approach" to Rett syndrome.