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Wireless sensor networks consist of small nodes with sensing, computation, and wireless communications capabilities. Many routing, power management, and data dissemination protocols have been specifically designed for WSNs where energy awareness is an essential design issue. Routing protocols in WSNs might differ depending on the application and network architecture. In this article we present a survey of state-of-the-art routing techniques in WSNs. We first outline the design challenges for routing protocols in WSNs followed by a comprehensive survey of routing techniques. Overall, the routing techniques are classified into three categories based on the underlying network structure: flit, hierarchical, and location-based routing. Furthermore, these protocols can be classified into multipath-based, query-based, negotiation-based, QoS-based, and coherent-based depending on the protocol operation. We study the design trade-offs between energy and communication overhead savings in every routing paradigm. We also highlight the advantages and performance issues of each routing technique. The article concludes with possible future research areas.