Barbra Streisand Cloned Her Dog. For $50,000, You Can Clone Yours.

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Barbra Streisand Cloned Her Dog. For $50,000, You Can Clone Yours.

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.)

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The dogs were cloned using cells taken from Samantha’s mouth and stomach. Ms. Streisand made the revelation in an interview with Variety.

Credit
Russell James for Variety

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.

More Reporting on Dogs

But will the cloned dog actually be similar?

That depends.

Sooam told Business Insider that it can clone any dog, regardless of age, size or breed. NPR, though, reported that cloned animals aren’t exact replicas of original dogs.

Researchers at the South Korean lab told the station that the dogs it had cloned have been healthy — and had almost always looked and acted like the dogs they were cloned from.

“Cats and dogs delivered by cloning have the same genes as their donor pets and will be the closest match possible to the donor,” ViaGen said on its website. “This is best described as identical twins born at a later date.”

“The environment does interact with genetics to impact many traits such as personality and behavior,” the company continued.

Is it safe?

That also depends — mostly on how you define “safe.”

In essence, the process involves getting a genetic sample from your dog, sending the sample to the lab, and letting the scientists put the sample through a process that fuses it with an egg. Eventually, the egg develops into an embryo; and that embryo is then transferred to the surrogate, who surgeons hope will give birth.

ViaGen Pets: How Pet Cloning Works Video by ViaGen Pets

At the Korean lab, the process requires operating on the egg donor and the surrogate mother — two dogs rented from a lab-animal provider. And, at least in the case of Sooam Biotech, it’s not clear what happens after those dogs are no longer needed.

The company also told the media outlets that the cloning process works only about 33 to 40 percent of the time, which means there is strong potential for miscarriages.

Far from the medical labs, Ms. Streisand told Variety that she loves sharing her Malibu home with Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett. At least from that vantage point, the process seemed to work out just fine. Because, really, whatever your genes, who wouldn’t want to live in a place with an ocean view?

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