In addition to her legendary status as a vocalist and actor, over the past fifty years, Barbra Streisand has maintained her spot on the cutting edge of culture. Her 2003 lawsuit against the California Coastal Records Project, launched to suppress research photos of the Malibu cliffside where her house happened to be, led to the coining of the term “Streisand Effect” (the phenomenon where an effort to suppress or hide information, especially on the Internet, perversely leads to more attention than if it was left well enough alone). Babs also boasts a straight-up mall in her basement (It’s non-functional: She uses it to showcase her belongings, not sell them.) And now, Barbra has utilized her wealth and the POWER OF SCIENCE to clone her dog.
Barbra’s beloved Coton de Tuléar, Samantha, died last year. Before that happened, Barbra had Samantha’s cells sampled and preserved. And now, in a recent profile in Variety, Barbra debuted two of her new pups — who are actually, in genetic terms, her old pup.
“Along with her husband of 20 years, James Brolin, there’s no one she enjoys sharing her residence with more than her three Coton de Tulear dogs. Perhaps her biggest reveal: Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett were cloned from cells taken from the mouth and stomach of her beloved 14-year-old dog Samantha, who died in 2017. Miss Fanny [her third new puppy] is a distant cousin.
‘They have different personalities,’ Streisand says. ‘I’m waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her brown eyes and her seriousness.’”
Barbra hasn’t gone into technical detail about her dogs’ provenance, but the New York Times has dug into the likely route a pet aficionado might take to clone-ownership (clonership?). First, you’ll need at least $50,000 USD. Then:
“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.”
With all the wonderful animals already out there, whether as the result of careful breeding to preserve a heritage, or the twists of fate that fill our shelters, I think it’s a bit excessive for a regular person to clone a beloved animal. Why not open your heart to a new friend, when the time comes? But Barbra is not a regular person — so, now that they’re in the world, here’s hoping Misses Scarlett and Violet enjoy as sweet a life as Samantha did the first time around!