Why Barbra Streisand’s cloned dogs aren’t identical to the original pet


March 1, 2018 8.37pm AEDT

Russell Bonduriansky

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could bring back a deceased loved one? Such ideas used to be pure science fiction, but recent advances in biotechnology seem to have brought this possibility within reach (at least for the wealthy).

When American singer-actress Barbra Streisand lost her beloved dog Sammie last year, she decided to have her cloned. She’s now raising Miss Scarlet and Miss Violet, both of whom are exact genetic replicas of Sammie. (You’ll be glad to know that any pet owner can do the same: for a mere US$100,000 or so, you too could have a genetic replica of your favourite cat or dog.)

But Miss Scarlett and Miss Violet almost certainly won’t turn out to be identical, mini versions of Sammie.

Read more: Dolly the sheep didn't develop premature arthritis after all – and that's good news for cloning

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