A joint research project being undertaken by Chinese scientists from Hong Kong, the US and China is expected to result in a genetically modified 'super rice' that could yield double the harvest of normal grain by 2008, reports the South China Morning Post.

Traditionally, the yield of rice is about 360kg per mu, a Chinese land measurement equivalent to about 0.6 hectares. First-generation hybrid rice, which is already feeding half the population of China, provides about 450kg per mu, a figure that could be doubled to 900kg if the new technology is developed as foreseen.

Researchers are Washington State University have joined forces with colleagues at the Chinese University of Hong Kong to work on the project, which involves accelerating growth by inserting the corn gene into hybrid rice. The genetic make-up of the hybrid rice is adjusted to improve its texture, while a derivative of wing bean will be inserted to increase the rice's stress resistance.