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The cationic antimicrobial peptides, including avian β-defensins called gallinacins in chickens, are endogenous natural antibiotics and constitute bioactive molecules of innate immune system. Marked by their broad spectrum antimicrobial activity and lack of antibioresistance, these antimicrobial peptides act promptly and form the first line of host defense against bacteria, fungi and enveloped viruses. They have been isolated from different species and constitute the most active molecules of the non-oxidative killing mechanism in chicken heterophils and expressed in the chicken reproductive system, tongue and bursa of fabricius and they constitute the backbone for new class of antibiotics and alternatives of feed additives. Their expression shows variability in health and disease and their low level is incriminated in some genetic disorders.