Unlike vertically transmitted endosymbionts, which have broad effects on their host’s germ line, the extracellular gut microbiota is transmitted horizontally and is not known to influence the germ line. Here we provide evidence supporting the influence of these gut bacteria on the germ line of Drosophila melanogaster. Removal of the gut bacteria represses oogenesis, expedites maternal-to-zygotic-transition in the offspring and unmasks hidden phenotypic variation in mutants. We further show that the main impact on oogenesis is linked to the lack of gut Acetobacter species, and we identify the Drosophila Aldehyde dehydrogenase (Aldh) gene as an apparent mediator of repressed oogenesis in Acetobacter-depleted flies. The finding of interactions between the gut microbiota and the germ line has implications for reproduction, developmental robustness and adaptation.