in this video at 5:28, the narrator talks about a "vat-grown all-purpose sieve organ" called Kliver that would do away with both liver and kidney transplant. But i don't seem to find online resources about the same. Is that terminology popular in scientific literature, and if so, how would synthetic biology accomplish that? articles about the same will also be appreciated.


2 Answers 2


This term is used in this book (Synthetic Biology, The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, p.43). This book is a summary of several interdisciplinary team discussions during a conference held in 2009.


[...] team considered building artificial organs. Engineered to be hypoallergenic, these could allow for a mass production of personalized organs. Their novel and broad functions could also be useful for medical testing. In a single artificial organ, one might screen potential drugs for both toxicity and permeability.

For instance, group members proposed the idea of a "kliver", a kidney-liver hybrid. An independent "kliver" could help filter bio-compounds out of drinking water.

There are some more paragraphs revolving around the question how to build a "kliver" and a final paragraph concluding that enough necessary building blocks were available and researchers could start working on it:

Potential building blocks might be mammalian and microbial cells and their products, such as slime, fibers, small molecules and proteins. The cells might be engineered to hold new electrical, mechanical, and chemical powers. [...] Cells would be programmed to degrade their organs and DNA if they began to invade other organisms or the environment. A genetic "kill switch" aims to stop contamination or infection.

Summarising this, I wouldn't call it a "popular term".

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ PS: to share some Google-fu: the book popped up when searching for "kliver kidney liver" $\endgroup$
    – Arsak
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 9:58

How would synthetic biology accomplish this?

We already have a synthetic kidney. We've had it for over 50 years. It prolongs life, but still not very well. Transplant, with all its challenges and complications, does much better.

The liver is much more complicated, and I would be very suspicious of anyone who thinks of it as primarily a sieve or detoxifying organ being able to build a synthetic liver. It certainly does some of those things, but it does much more, playing an important role in digestion, metabolism, protein synthesis, excretion, and the immune system. See Cecil Medicine Ch. 148 for an overview. There's a reason we don't yet have a synthetic bridge to transplant for liver failure. I wouldn't rule it out, but I think you'd need to be able to build a synthetic liver before you could build a synthetic kliver.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .