Fragile X-related disorders (FXDs), also known as FMR1 disorders, are examples of repeat expansion diseases (REDs), clinical conditions that arise from an increase in the number of repeats in a disease-specific microsatellite. In the case of FXDs, the repeat unit is CGG/CCG and the repeat tract is located in the 5′ UTR of the X-linked FMR1 gene. Expansion can result in neurodegeneration, ovarian dysfunction, or intellectual disability depending on the number of repeats in the expanded allele. A growing body of evidence suggests that the mutational mechanisms responsible for many REDs share several common features. It is also increasingly apparent that in some of these diseases the pathologic consequences of expansion may arise in similar ways. It has long been known that many of the disease-associated repeats form unusual DNA and RNA structures. This review will focus on what is known about these structures, the proteins with which they interact, and how they may be related to the causative mutation and disease pathology in the FMR1 disorders.