The post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression underlies several critical developmental phenomena. In metazoa, gene products that are expressed, silenced and packaged during oogenesis govern early developmental processes prior to nascent transcription activation. Furthermore, tissue-specific alternative splicing of several transcription factors controls pattern formation and organ development. A highly conserved family of proteins containing a STAR/GSG RNA-binding domain is essential to both processes. Here, we identify the consensus STAR-binding element (SBE) required for specific mRNA recognition by GLD-1, a key regulator of Caenorhabditis elegans germline development. We have identified and verified new GLD-1 repression targets containing this sequence. The results suggest additional functions of GLD-1 in X-chromosome silencing and early embryogenesis. The SBE is present in Quaking and How mRNA targets, suggesting that STAR protein specificity is highly conserved. Similarities between the SBE and the branch-site signal indicate a possible competition mechanism for STAR/GSG regulation of splicing variants.