Oocytes are released from meiotic prophase I arrest through a process termed oocyte maturation. We present here a genetic characterization of oocyte maturation, using C. elegans as a model system. We show that two TIS11 zinc finger-containing proteins, OMA-1 and OMA-2, express specifically in maturing oocytes and function redundantly in oocyte maturation. Oocytes in oma-1;oma-2 mutants initiate but do not complete maturation and arrest at a defined point in prophase I. Two maturation signal-induced molecular events, including the maintenance of activated MAP kinase, do not occur in Oma oocytes. The Oma prophase arrest is released by inactivation of a MYT-1-like kinase, suggesting that OMA-1 and OMA-2 function upstream of MYT-1 as positive regulators of prophase progression during meiotic maturation.