Twice As Nice? Barbra Streisand Reveals Her Ruff Replicas

Barbra Streisand revealed in an interview that two of her three Coton de Tulears had been cloned from her beloved late dog Samantha, who died last year at the age of 14. Photo Credit: Russell James / Variety

(CELEBRITY PETS) In an interview with Variety published Tuesday, legendary singer and actress Barbra Streisand revealed that two of her dogs, Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett, were cloned from her 14-year-old Coton du Tulear Samantha, who died last year.

Before Samantha died, Streisand had cells taken from the dog’s mouth and stomach to produce not one, but two genetic twins of the original animal–which can cost upwards of $50,000 per clone.

The process has been available to the elite for over a decade now, and while it may sound like a fantastic idea to pet lovers, there are a number of reasons why pet parents shouldn’t follow in the star’s footsteps.

Not only is the practice largely unregulated, but producing one clone requires a number of animals to help bring the animal to life. In fact, California even attempted to ban the practice in 2005, with officials citing health concerns and worries that shelters would become unmanageable. But the bill was ultimately voted down.

Read on to learn more about pet cloning and click here for 12 reasons you don’t want to clone your pet. — Global Animal

Barbra Streisand revealed in an interview that two of her three Coton de Tulears had been cloned from her beloved late dog Samantha, who died last year at the age of 14. Photo Credit: Russell James / Variety

New York Times, Matt Stevens

It was basically an aside — an odd and interesting nugget in an interview with Barbra Streisand that otherwise dealt with heavy topics like sexism and politics.

Indeed, most of the 2,800-word article about Ms. Streisand in Variety is devoted to detailing the actress’s decades-long efforts to break up Hollywood’s boys’ club, as the 90th Academy Awards ceremony approaches with the #MeToo movement as the backdrop.

But it was that one nugget — a brief comment about her dogs — that drew the most attention on Tuesday night.

In her interview with Variety, Ms. Streisand revealed that two of her three Coton de Tulear dogs were clones. Specifically, the magazine reported that the dogs — Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett — had been cloned from cells taken from the mouth and stomach of Ms. Streisand’s late dog Samantha, who was 14 when she died last year.

Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett “have different personalities,” Ms. Streisand told Variety. “I’m waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her brown eyes and her seriousness.”

Ms. Streisand’s third dog, Miss Fanny, is a distant cousin of Samantha’s, the magazine said. (Miss Fanny’s mother, the story noted, had been named Funny Girl.)

If the possibility of cloning your dog intrigues you, there is good news: You do not have to be an incredibly famous and highly acclaimed actor, director, producer and writer to have it done.

You do, however, need at least $50,000. But first, a little context.

We can clone dogs? Since when?

Even if you are not a close follower of clones, you may recall Dolly the Sheep, who was born in 1996. Since then, researchers have cloned about two dozen other mammal species, including cattle, deer, horses, rabbits, cats, rats — and yes, dogs.

South Korean researchers announced that they had cloned a dog for the first time in 2005, after almost three years of work and more than 1,000 eggs. With help from a yellow Labrador retriever who served as the surrogate mother, a cloned male Afghan hound named Snuppy was born. (Snuppy, of course, stood for “Seoul National University puppy.”)

By 2008, a California company had partnered with a South Korean laboratory and made plans to auction off chances to clone five dogs. Later that year, The New York Times reported that the first three puppies from the group had been born in South Korea.

Two 2015 reports — from Business Insider and NPR — detail the work of Sooam Biotech, a lab in South Korea, and said the lab, on its own, had cloned more than 600 dogs.

How much does it cost?

Both articles say Sooam Biotech charged about $100,000 to attempt the process. ViaGen Pets, a company based in Texas, says it charges $50,000 for the cloning or $1,600 to merely preserve your pet’s genes.

Reports and information on ViaGen’s website suggest that the cloning process — specifically a dog’s pregnancy — usually takes about 60 days.

It was not clear which company Ms. Streisand used to create her clones. A publicist for Ms. Streisand did not immediately respond to an email or phone message on Tuesday night.

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