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.
“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.
Stripe Enters The Middle East With Its UAE Launch
Stripe will initially only be available to UAE businesses, allowing them to accept online payments, make payouts, mitigate fraud, and attract customers from around the world.
Stripe, a provider of online payment processing for internet business, has finally expanded to the Middle East with its official launch in the United Arab Emirates. The Irish-American company also opened an office in Dubai Internet City, allowing it to be closer to its new customer base.
At first, Stripe will only be available to UAE businesses, allowing them to accept online payments, make payouts, mitigate fraud, and attract customers from around the world.
“The UAE is a thriving hub for technology, supported by strong investor appetite, internet-savvy consumers, and an open, innovative ecosystem of business leaders and entrepreneurs,” said Matt Henderson, EMEA Business Lead at Stripe. “Our launch today also means we can now connect our global user base to the Gulf, enabling them to seamlessly expand their operations in the region.”
Stripe’s entry into the Middle East market comes just weeks after its latest round of funding, which has resulted in the company’s value jumping up to $95 billion and making it one of the most valuable fintech companies in the world.
The UAE is the perfect entry point for the online payment processing provider because the total value of digital payment transactions in the gulf country has doubled in the last two years alone, reaching $18.5 billion in 2020. If the UAE remains on the current growth trajectory, its e-commerce sector is expected to add nearly another $10 billion over the next two years.
Another factor that makes the UAE such an ideal expansion point is the fact that accepting online payments in the country has historically been incredibly challenging. Stripe provides a straightforward setup process and developer-friendly APIs, making it easy for companies of all sizes to improve their online presence.
Last year, Stripe launched in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Malta. The company also expanded into Africa via Nigeria technology startup Paystack. In total, Stripe currently processes hundreds of billions of dollars each year.