Mammalian oocytes are arrested in prophase of the first meiotic division. Progression into the first meiotic division is driven by an increase in the activity of maturation-promoting factor (MPF). In mouse oocytes, we find that early mitotic inhibitor 1 (Emi1), an inhibitor of the anaphase-promoting complex (APC) that is responsible for cyclin B destruction and inactivation of MPF, is present at prophase I and undergoes Skp1-Cul1-F-box/betaTrCP-mediated destruction immediately after germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD). Exogenous Emi1 or the inhibition of Emi1 destruction in prophase-arrested oocytes leads to a stabilization of cyclin B1-GFP that is sufficient to trigger GVBD. In contrast, the depletion of Emi1 using morpholino oligonucleotides increases cyclin B1-GFP destruction, resulting in an attenuation of MPF activation and a delay of entry into the first meiotic division. Finally, we show that Emi1-dependent effects on meiosis I require the presence of Cdh1. These observations reveal a novel mechanism for the control of entry into the first meiotic division: an Emi1-dependent inhibition of APC(Cdh1).