Background: Group A rotaviruses are the most common cause of severe diarrhea in infants and children worldwide and continue to have a major global impact on childhood morbidity and mortality. In recent years, considerable research efforts have been devoted to the development of two new live, orally administered vaccines. Although both vaccines have proven to confer a good protection against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis, these vaccines will have to be screened and may have to be updated regularly to reflect temporal and spatial genotype fluctuations. In this matter, the genetic characterization of circulating and new emerging rotavirus strains will need to be compulsory and accurate. An extended classification system for rotaviruses in which all the 11 genomic RNA segments are used, has been proposed recently. The use of this classification system will help to elucidate the role of gene reassortments in the generation of genetic diversity, host range restriction, co-segregation of certain gene segments, and in adaptation to a new host species.