Biotic abilities appear in humanoids who have been exposed to element zero during gestation. During fetal development, the nervous system interacts with the element zero in the subject's tissues, allowing the subject to activate the eezo with his or her own bioelectricity. In most subjects, devices called "biotic amplifiers" must also be implanted later in life to allow them to create mass effect fields of useful intensity.
Prenatal exposure to element zero is not safe, and most fetuses exposed to it will miscarry. The asari are the main exception to this rule, as eezo is so abundant on Thessia that all life there has adapted to its presence. Even some animals living on Thessia manifest biotic abilities.
- The most common manifestation of biotic abilities is telekinesis. The biotic creates a mass effect force field that accelerates a target in a desired direction.
- Some biotics can create gravitational force fields that affect all matter in a targeted area.
- Some biotics can accelerate their own bodies to extraordinary speeds, allowing them to move rapidly around a battlefield and collide with opponents with destructive force.
- Many biotics can create personal defensive shields that deflect projectiles. Some biotics can create shield bubbles with a radius of several meters.
- Some biotics can create "warp fields" that tear matter apart at the molecular level.
Mass effect fields created by biotics can sometimes interact with explosive effects.
Biotics appear to violate Newton's laws of motion, as biotic individuals are able to remotely apply hundreds of Newtons of force to other bodies without experiencing any noticeable reaction force. No explanation is provided for this behavior.
Biotics also appear to violate the laws of thermodynamics, as the high-calorie diet required by biotics does not seem sufficient to account for all of the energy used in biotic feats.