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One Dog, Two Dog

In an interview with Variety this month, Barbra Streisand reveals that two of her three Coton de Tulear dogs are clones of her 14-year-old dog Samantha, who died in 2017. Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett were cloned from cells taken from the mouth and stomach of Samantha, Variety says. When they arrived, Streisand tied violet and scarlet sashes on them to tell them apart, hence their names.

"They have different personalities," Streisand tells the magazine. "I'm waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have [Samantha's] brown eyes and her seriousness."

The third dog, Miss Fanny, is a distant cousin of Samantha, Variety notes. (Miss Fanny's mother's name had been Funny Girl, the magazine adds. Streisand plays the character of Fanny Brice in the 1968 film Funny Girl.)

Although Streisand didn't specify which company cloned her dogs, NPR notes today that there are various companies that claim they can perform the service. A few years ago, Sooam Biotech Research Foundation in South Korea was offering to clone a pet for $100,000, NPR says. And a company called ViaGen, which calls itself "America's Most Trusted Animal Cloning Company," now charges $50,000 to clone a dog and $25,000 for a cat.

But the process may not work perfectly every time. An NPR report on Sooam Biotech in 2015 noted that its cloning process "works only about a third of the time. So, getting a cloned puppy entails a lot of attempts and a lot of miscarriages. And the process requires many dogs — some to provide the eggs, and others to serve as surrogates."

Further the report added at the time, "even when the process works perfectly, the cloned animals aren't exact replicas of the originals. Environmental influences, including some that help determine when particular genes are turned on and off during development, play a role in how closely the resulting clone mimics the original dog."