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Cooperative transmission is an effective solution to improve the performance of wireless communications over fading channels without the need for physical co-located antenna arrays. In this paper, selection combining is used at the destination instead of maximal ratio combing to optimize the structure of destination and to reduce power consumption in selective decode-and-forward relaying networks. For an arbitrary number of relays, an exact and closed-form expression of the bit error rate (BER) is derived for M-PAM, M-QAM, and M-PSK, respectively, in both independent identically distributed and independent but not identically distributed Rayleigh fading channels. A variety of simulations are performed and show that they match exactly with analytic ones. In addition, our results show that the optimum number of relays depend not only on channel conditions (operating SNRs) but also on modulation schemes which to be used.