RecQ family helicases are conserved from bacteria to human. Across the species, they are known to be required for protecting genome from various genotoxic stresses. In human, five RecQ-related helicases have been identified and three of them, BLM, WRN and RecQL4, have been shown to be responsible for genetic disorders, Bloom, Werner and Rothmund-Thomson syndrome, respectively, which are characterized by cancer predisposition and premature ageing. RecQL4, the N-terminal portion of which shares similarity with Sld2 known to be required for assembly of a replication complex in yeasts, is unique in that it has been shown to be essential for the initiation phase of normal DNA replication. Recent biochemical characterization demonstrated the 3'-5' DNA helicase activity associated with RecQL4. Understanding the molecular basis for how RecQ helicases are involved in generation and maintenance of normal and stalled DNA replication forks would be crucial to elucidation of the mechanisms of replication initiation as well as to that of how the loss of these conserved helicases leads to varieties of disease phenotypes.