A hallmark of germline cells throughout the animal kingdom is their ability to execute meiosis. However, despite its prime importance, little is known about how germline progenitors acquire this ability. In Drosophila, the primordial germ cells (PGCs) are characterized by the inheritance of germ plasm, which contains maternal factors that have sufficient ability to direct germline development. Here, we show that a novel maternal factor, MAMO, is autonomously required in PGCs to produce functional gametes. MAMO protein which contains both a BTB/POZ (Broad Complex, Tramtrack, Bric-a-brac/Pox virus and Zinc finger) domain and C(2)H(2) zinc finger motifs is enriched in PGCs during embryogenesis. The PGCs with reduced maternal MAMO activity are able to undergo oogenesis, but fail to execute meiosis properly. In the resulting oocytes, meiosis-specific chromosomal configurations are impaired. We additionally show that the decondensation of fertilized sperm nuclei is also affected in the eggs. We propose that maternal MAMO activates downstream genes to promote specialized morphological changes of both female meiotic chromosomes and the sperm nucleus, which are critical in zygote formation.