The genus Capsicum (2n = 24) comprises a diverse group of plants producing pungent (hot pepper syn. chili pepper) or non-pungent (sweet pepper) fruits 388valued as spices and vegetables. The genus originated in the arid regions of the Andes Mountains (present-day Peru and Bolivia) and later spread to the tropical lowlands of the Americas. The domestication syndromes of C. annuum are a set of favorable traits selected by early domesticators from wild plants with small-round, erect, pungent, deciduous, and soft-fleshed fruits. In the past decade, highly pungent Capsicum landraces (e.g., Bhut Jolokia and variants, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and variants) have been discovered, which need characterization and ex situ conservation. The availability in 2014 of full genome sequences of wild and cultivated species is expected to accelerate the pepper breeding progress. Pepper breeding at AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center – focuses on improvement of hot pepper and sweet pepper of C. annuum species. Between 2001 and 2013, AVRDC’s genebank has provided more than 33,000 pepper seed samples (79% improved lines and 21% genebank accessions) in more than 120 countries spread across all continents. Since 2005, 12 germplasm accessions and 18 improved lines have been released as 30 open pollinated varieties for commercial cultivation after further evaluation in Armenia, Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Kazakhstan, Mali, and Uzbekistan. In addition, 34 hybrids developed using AVRDC materials as parental lines were commercialized, mostly by private seed companies in China, India, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan.