A novel gene, prom-1, was isolated in a screen for Caenorhabditis elegans mutants with increased apoptosis in the germline. prom-1 encodes an F-box protein with limited homology to the putative human tumor suppressor FBXO47. Mutations in the prom-1 locus cause a strong reduction in bivalent formation, which results in increased embryonic lethality and a Him phenotype. Furthermore, retarded and asynchronous nuclear reorganization as well as reduced homologous synapsis occur during meiotic prophase. Accumulation of recombination protein RAD-51 in meiotic nuclei suggests disturbed repair of double-stranded DNA breaks. Nuclei in prom-1 mutant gonads timely complete mitotic proliferation and premeiotic replication, but they undergo prolonged delay upon meiotic entry. We, therefore, propose that prom-1 regulates the timely progression through meiotic prophase I and that in its absence the recognition of homologous chromosomes is strongly impaired.