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Reliable transmission service is in dire need for many applications in wireless sensor networks (WSNs). Most existing routing protocols however, seriously suffer from low end-to-end success rates in real deployments. Through extensive experiments on a test-bed of Mica2 nodes, we identify three key problems that hinder the reliable packet delivery. In order to address these problems and therefore to provide a reliability-oriented transmission service, we propose a novel in-middle recovery mechanism that fills the gap between the traditional per-hop recovery and end-to-end recovery mechanisms. To realize such an idea, we design and implement proliferation routing that leverages randomized dispersity and reproduction. The distinctive feature of proliferation routing is its great flexibility. Not only can it be applied with any medium access control (MAC) protocol and routing metric, but also a desired service quality can be effectively derived by controlling the system parameters. Such a feature is revealed by theoretical analysis and confirmed by implementation and simulation experiments. In a specific experiment setup, proliferation routing can increase the end-to-end transmission success rate up to 70% compared with the well-known hop-based routing and flooding.