Maybe it was a lifetime of chores on the family farm that account for Edna Parker's long life. Or maybe just good genes explain why the world's oldest known person will turn 115 on Sunday, defying staggering odds.
During an early celebration of the event, Parker laughed and smiled as relatives and guests released 115 balloons into sunny skies outside her nursing home in Shelbyville.
Scientists who study longevity hope Parker and others who live to 110 or beyond can help uncover the mystery of extreme longevity. Her DNA and that of about 100 other people who made the 110-year milestone are being studied for clues, said Dr. Thomas Perls, who directs the centenarian study at Boston University.