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Bone marrow registry used “sexy scientist” models to get DNA swabs

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Caitlin Raymond International, a bone-marrow registry in New England, decided that the best way to get more DNA swabs — which would mean more potential donor matches in their records — would be to appeal to a man's libido. So they hired models, decked out in the "sexy scientist" uniform of heels, short skirts, and lab coats, to approach men at malls and ballparks and flirt with them until they handed over the DNA goods. The only problem? They didn't exactly tell the guys what they were getting into.

The men knew they were signing up for the potential-bone-marrow-donor list, of course; I doubt even a sexy woman saying you'd be "a hero" would convince a straight guy to give away his DNA without knowing why. But they didn't mention that the price of processing each swab — approximately $4,300 — would be charged against the men's insurance. (That can't be good for keeping volunteer donor rates high.) Maybe the men would still have participated, of course, but you should really let people be selfless with all the relevant information.

So, while the New Hampshire attorney general is investigating Caitlin Raymond International's practices, the UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, the holding company of CRI, has stopped seeking donors in NH all together. Probably not the outcome expected when someone had the bright idea to take advantage of a man's downstairs brain.