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Israelis Have Successfully Grown Mouse Embryos In Artificial Wombs

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israelis have successfully grown mouse embryos in artificial wombs
Weizmann Institute Of Science

Thanks to the work of a group of Israeli scientists, we’re one step closer to being able to grow human babies in artificial wombs. The scientists, led by Professor Jacob Hanna, have successfully extracted 250 embryos from pregnant mice and placed them in a contraption designed to simulate the uterine wall and give the embryos the right conditions to grow.

“We have grown hundreds of mice in this way, in a method that has taken seven years to develop, and I’m still captivated every time I see it,” said Hanna, who works at the Weizmann Institute of Science, a public research university in Rehovot, Israel. “This could be relevant to other mammals, including humans, though we acknowledge that there are ethical issues related to growing humans outside the body.”

Hanna and his team have revealed their breakthrough in the peer-reviewed journal Nature, a multidisciplinary publication known for publishing the finest research from a variety of academic disciplines.

Previous experiments of this kind involved fetuses with already developed organs, such as when the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia grew fetal lambs for over four weeks in artificial wombs back in 2017. The Israel-based team started with five-days old embryos consisting of just 250 cells, placing them into a special liquid to provide nourishment.

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“By day 11, they make their own blood and have a beating heart, a fully developed brain. Anybody would look at them and say, ‘this is clearly a mouse fetus with all the characteristics of a mouse.’ It’s gone from being a ball of cells to being an advanced fetus,” explained Hanna.

While this experiment certainly invokes unsettling scenes from the movie Matrix, with machines growing humans in massive quantities to extract electricity from their bodies, scientists are still a long way from applying the research to create life outside the human body. It’s even possible that the ethical issues surrounding such research will lead to its bad, or at least a heavy regulation.

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Facebook Will Create 10,000 Jobs In The EU To Build Its Metaverse

Facebook decided to invest in the EU because the company believes that European talent is world-leading, supported by first-class universities.

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facebook will create 10,000 jobs in the eu to build its metaverse
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Facebook has announced that it wants to create 10,000 jobs in the European Union (EU) to build its metaverse, a virtual reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.

The concept of the metaverse can be traced to Neal Stephenson’s 1992 cyberpunk novel Snow Crash. In the novel, the metaverse is a virtual shared space that appears to its users as an urban environment. This space is accessed through personal terminals connected to virtual reality goggles.

Sound familiar? That’s because the metaverse is quickly becoming a reality thanks to companies like Oculus, a subsidiary of Facebook, and the combined effort of developers and content creators from around the world.

By creating thousands of new high-skilled jobs within the EU over the next five years, Facebook wants to accelerate the development of the metaverse to usher in a new phase of interconnected virtual experiences, enabled by technologies like virtual and augmented reality.

“At its heart is the idea that by creating a greater sense of ‘virtual presence,’ interacting online can become much closer to the experience of interacting in person,” said Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice-president of global affairs. “The metaverse has the potential to help unlock access to new creative, social and economic opportunities”.

According to the official announcement, Facebook decided to invest in the EU because the company believes that European talent is world-leading, supported by first-class universities. Facebook also mentioned the role European policymakers are playing in shaping the internet, so it’s likely that the investment has a political dimension to it.

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Aware of its tarnished reputation, the social media giant stressed that no single company would own and operate the metaverse — just like no single company owns the internet today. Of course, that doesn’t change anything about the fact that Facebook wants to play a huge role in it.

Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg told his employees that Facebook is becoming a metaverse company with the goal of building a set of connected social apps and supporting hardware. The recently released Horizon Workrooms remote collaboration app for the Oculus Quest 2 headset can be seen as an early piece of the much larger puzzle the metaverse will become in the future.

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