An effort to improve development potential of early embryos is one of the main goals of biotechnology in the area of reproductive biology with application in veterinary or human medicine. Recent observations of the function of nucleolus or rather its forms before, during and after the fertilisation or parthenogenetic activation show the key role(s) of nucleolus in the processes of early genome activation. The nucleolus is a subnuclear structure (organelle) mainly involved in regulation of transcription and translation. This organelle has been characterized in detail by immunofluorescence, cell transfection and proteomics. This data was, however, mostly obtained in nucleoli of differentiated eukaryotic cells. Much less is known about the nucleolar structural changes and related functional processes in growing and fully grown mammalian oocytes, zygotes and early cleavage stage embryos, especially in the context of embryonic genome activation. It has been shown, that nucleoli in mammalian oocytes and early embryos have several forms and functions, which vary during the oocyte growth and embryonic development. Certain functions have not been fully described or explained, yet. The method of enucleolation, which allows to remove nucleoli from the oocytes or to exchange nucleoli between oocytes or zygotes, together with their proteomic and structural analyses brought new information about functions of nucleoli in oocytes and early cleavage-stage embryos and allowed to explain some new key roles of nucleoli during oocyte maturation and early embryonic development.