Levels of genetic variation and genetic structure of 15 wild populations and three domesticated populations of Capsicum annuum were studied by RAPD markers. A total of 166 bands (all of them polymorphic) and 126 bands (125 of them polymorphic) were amplified in wild and domesticated populations, respectively. Mean percentage of polymorphism was 34.2% in wild populations and 34.7% in domesticated populations. Mean and total genetic diversity were 0.069 and 0.165 for wild populations and 0.081 and 0.131 for domesticated populations. Parameters of genetic diversity estimated from 54 bands with frequencies ≥1 − (3/n) (n = sample size) showed that 56.7% of the total variation was within and 43.3% among wild populations, whereas 67.8% of the variation was within and 32.2% among domesticated populations. AMOVA indicated that total genetic diversity was equally distributed within (48.9 and 50.0%) and among (50.0 and 51.1%) populations in both wild and domesticated samples. Wild and domesticated populations were clearly resolved in a UPGMA dendrogram constructed from Jaccard's distances (average GD = 0.197), as well as by AMOVA (17.2% of variance among populations types, p = 0.001) and by multidimensional scaling analysis. Such differentiation can be associated with domestication as well as different origin of gene pools of the wild (Northwestern Mexico) and cultivated (more probably Central Mexico) samples analyzed. The considerable genetic distances among cultivars (average GD = 0.254) as well as the high number of diagnostic bands per cultivar (33 out of 126 bands), suggest that genetic changes associated with domestication could have resulted from artificial selection intervening in different directions, but the inclusion of more domesticated samples might clarify the nature of distinctions detected here.