The experiments also showed the organics would survive temperatures of up to 1,400 Centigrade (2,552 degrees Fahrenheit).
"The formaldehyde forms these little tiny organic balls," Cody said.
Other molecules found in space, such as hydrogen cyanide, also could polymerize with itself, but they fall apart in hot water, Cody added.
"Formaldehyde is almost unique in its tendency to hang out -- and hang on -- as the solar system got hotter and dryer," said Cody.
Also buttressing the team's findings is a related study showing that comets may be much more watery than previously thought.
"If liquid water environments were common, than there are a lot more places to produce pre-biotic material," Dante Lauretta, associate professor at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, told Discovery News.
"Now that we know what we're working with, we want to understand the chemistry better," added Cody.
Cody's research was reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences earlier this month. Lauretta's team, which also studied Stardust samples, is publishing in the online edition of the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.