G-quadruplexes (G4s) are non-classical DNA or RNA secondary structures that have been first observed decades ago. Over the years, these four-stranded structural motifs have been demonstrated to have significant regulatory roles in diverse biological processes, but challenges remain in detecting them globally and reliably. Compared to DNA G4s (dG4s), the study of RNA G4s (rG4s) has received less attention until recently. In this review, we will summarize the innovative high-throughput methods recently developed to detect rG4s on a transcriptome-wide scale, highlight the many novel and important functions of rG4 being discovered in vivo across the tree of life, and discuss the key biological questions to be addressed in the near future.
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.