The results were disappointing. The problem wasn't that the commenters recommended papers that turned out to be lousy, but that they didn't recommended any recent papers at all, except for a reanalysis of Miller's original spark-discharge material from his 1953 experiment. The problem wasn't that the commenters were ignorant of the field - one was the Director of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, who directed me to a recent report on the Institute's success but didn't give personal recommendations for any of the publications it lists.
I'm thinking about this issue now because of a paper that just appeared in PNAS, titled Carbonaceous meteorites contain a wide range of extraterrestrial nucleobases (authors Callahan et al.). CNN's Lightyears blog headlines this as DNA discovered in meteorites, but most reports were more sensible. (The image below is from the Lightyears blog.)
To my non-expert eye this looks like good science. The results are not really surprising (purines have been found in meteorites before), but they're very solid. What makes this work important is that the authors surveyed a wide range of meteorites, carefully eliminated sources of external contamination with terrestrial purines, and showed that the distribution of purines found in the meteorites matched that produced by laboratory reactions simulating space chemistry but not that of terrestrial contaminants (e.g. they found not only the common terrestrial contaminant adenine but also 2,6-diaminopurine).
So is this good paper a good astrobiology paper? I don't think it qualifies. Although most of the authors are supported by NASA, they nowhere mention astrobiology or consider whether their work has implications for the origins of life anywhere but on Earth.
(I'm officially a zoologist, so now I'm off to the San Francisco Zoo, planning to be back in time for the SciFoo meet and greet this afternoon.)