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Selenium is an essential trace element for which both beneficial and toxic effects in human health have been described. It is now clear that the importance of having adequate amounts of this micronutrient in the diet is primarily due to the fact that selenium is required for biosynthesis of selenocysteine, the twenty first naturally occurring amino acid in protein. In this review, we provide an overview of eukaryotic selenoproteins and selenoproteomes, which are sets of selenoproteins in these organisms. In eukaryotes, selenoproteins show a mosaic occurrence, with some organisms, such as vertebrates and algae, having dozens of these proteins, while other organisms, such as higher plants and fungi, having lost all selenoproteins during evolution. We also discuss selenoprotein functions and evolutionary trends in the use of these proteins in eukaryotes. Functional analysis of selenoproteins is critical for better understanding of the role of selenium in human health and disease.