For the first time, mouse embryos are grown outside the living womb of a mother mouse.
In a study published in the journal Nature, Dr. Jacob Hanna described removing embryos from the uteruses of mice at five days of gestation and growing them for six more days in artificial wombs.
At that point, the embryos were about halfway through their development; full gestation is about 20 days. A human at this stage of development would be called a fetus. To date, Dr. Hanna and his colleagues have grown more than 1,000 embryos in this way.
Science fiction fans of course recall the first description of a mechanical womb in Aldous Huxley's 1932 classic Brave New World:
...From the Social Predestination Room the escalators went rumbling down into the basement, and there, in the crimson darkness, stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones, the foetuses grew and grew or, poisoned, languished into a stunted Epsilonhood. With a faint hum and rattle the moving racks crawled imperceptibly through the weeks and the recapitulated aeons to where, in the Decanting Room, the newly-unbottled babes uttered their first yell of horror and amazement.
(Read more about Huxley's artificial womb from Brave New World)
Fans of Frank Herbert remember the Axolotl Tanks from his 1969 novel Dune Messiah.
Also, compare the spinning vials from the artificial mouse womb to the vast artificial wombs in Star Wars Episode II: