At the International Summit of Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong, Jiankui had submitted his work on baby gene-editing in November.
But using cloned monkeys would allow researchers to give them different doses of the same drug and then precisely measure the effects.
They selected one of the gene-edited monkeys with the most severe disease phenotypes as the donor.
The absence of the BMAL1 gene will affect the operation of the animals' biological clocks, and could induce a wide range of diseases, sleep problems, nighttime hyperactivity, hormonal disorders, depression and even schizophrenia. It is very disturbing that more such gene edited monkey clones will be produced for the sole objective of further experiments, even if they said this may reduce the number of monkeys used for future experiments.
"Our BMAL1-knock out monkeys therefore could be used to study the disease pathogens as well as therapeutic treatments", he added.
The cloned monkeys were born in Shanghai at Institute of Neuroscience of Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The scientists claimed that the clones created using skin cells will help understand human diseases.
A staff member feeds the cloned monkeys.
A Chinese scientist who claimed to have created the world's first genetically edited babies "seriously violated" state regulations, according to the results of an initial government investigation reported Monday by Chinese state media. In this method, the researchers removed the nucleus from a monkey oocyte (egg cell) and replaced it with another nucleus from a fibroblast, a differentiated somatic (body) cell.
This time, the team transferred 325 cloned embryos into 65 surrogate mothers, resulting in 16 pregnancies and five live births.
'We believe that this approach of cloning gene-edited monkeys could be used to generate a variety of monkey models for gene-based diseases, including many brain diseases, as well as immune and metabolic disorders and cancer'.
The scientists planned to improve the cloning technique to make it more efficient. The group is expecting more macaque clones carrying disease-causing gene mutations to be generated in the coming years.
China's Xinhua news agency (via Reuters) claims that the research was "in line with global ethical standards for animal research", but the ethical discussion around the experiment otherwise doesn't appear to be publicly available right now.
The method was the same used to produce the celebrated sheep "Dolly" more than 20 years ago.
"The best way to reduce the number of monkeys used in such experiments is to stop such animal experiments", Cao told Newsweek reporter, Hannah Osborne. He Jiankui organized and handled funding for the experiment without outside assistance in violation of national guidelines, the Xinhua News Agency said.