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The authors present a general procedure that allows the design of single-mode air-core waveguides in three-dimensional photonic crystals. The procedure involves analyzing the modal profile of the band edge mode in the perfect crystal, identifying the regions of maximal electric-field intensity, and placing the air defects to enclose these regions. As an illustration, they present a detailed design of air-core waveguides in a recently proposed silicon body-center-cubic crystal structure that possesses a 25% complete band gap.