Ethylene glycol is a type of alcohol chemically related to glycolaldehyde, a simple sugar that has also been detected in space. Both ethylene glycol and glycolaldehyde are organic molecules that contain carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms and are essential building blocks of many biological molecules.
The discovery of these molecules in space suggests that complex organic compounds can be formed in the harsh conditions of interstellar space and that the building blocks of life may be distributed throughout the galaxy. It is not known precisely how these molecules are formed, but they may be produced in the gas and dust clouds between stars or by reactions on the surfaces of interstellar dust grains.
Source: Discover Magazine