Barbra Streisand's dog cloning: Is it ethical?

Sure, you love your dog. But do you love your dog enough to spend $50,000 on a cloned version of your dog that in all likelihood won't act like your departed pal?

Barbra Streisand made waves this week by slyly burying into an interview for Variety magazine that she had her (now dead) dog named Samantha cloned — not once, but into two (living) dogs. She later defended the decision in a New York Times editorial.


The two dogs in question, Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett, came into being through a surrogate mother dog and a hefty fee. Viagen Pets out of Texas charges about $50,000 per cloned animal. 

Some questions linger.

Is it ethical? That all depends on your definition of ethical. From a biological standpoint, it's no worse than a chicken laying an egg... it's just that the apparatus and procedure is a lot more complicated (involving tissue samples at a time close to death). From a moral standpoint, it's this writer's opinion that it if you've got $50,000 to spend on resurrecting your pet without resorting to Pet Cemetary-esque options, then go for it. 

Will they act the same as the pet? The cloned animals should act similarly but won't have the memory nor upbringing of the original dog. As with any new creature, they were born into this world anew. So Barba most likely didn't (and shouldn't) expect either Violet or Scarlett to answer to anything that Samantha did. 

So, what's the point? It's more sentimental than anything else. Having a pet (or pets) that look exactly like your deceased pet makes it a lot easier to deal with the grief of losing a furry loved one. 

While the news is certainly interesting due to the celebrity tie-in, this is by far not the first time that cloning animals has taken place. Dolly, the sheep, was cloned in 2001 (much to the derision of the public for cloning an animal famous for looking similar to every other of its species). China recently made some science journal headlines for cloning monkeys, and dog cloning itself goes back as far as 2006.  

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less

Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
Politics & Current Affairs
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
Keep reading Show less

Here's how diverse the 116th Congress is set to become

The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.

(Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
  • In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
  • Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
Keep reading Show less