Increasing amounts of data support a role for guanine quadruplex (G4) DNA and RNA structures in various cellular processes. We stained different organisms with monoclonal antibody 1H6 specific for G4 DNA. Strikingly, immuno-electron microscopy showed exquisite specificity for heterochromatin. Polytene chromosomes from Drosophila salivary glands showed bands that co-localized with heterochromatin proteins HP1 and the SNF2 domain-containing protein SUUR. Staining was retained in SUUR knock-out mutants but lost upon overexpression of SUUR. Somatic cells in Macrostomum lignano were strongly labeled, but pluripotent stem cells labeled weakly. Similarly, germline stem cells in Drosophila ovaries were weakly labeled compared to most other cells. The unexpected presence of G4 structures in heterochromatin and the difference in G4 staining between somatic cells and stem cells with germline DNA in ciliates, flatworms, flies and mammals point to a conserved role for G4 structures in nuclear organization and cellular differentiation.