# Polynomial bounds for chromatic number VI. Adding a four-vertex path

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## Date

2023-05

## Authors

Chudnovsky, Maria

Scott, Alex

Seymour, Paul

Spirkl, Sophie

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## Publisher

Elsevier

## Abstract

A hereditary class of graphs is -bounded if there is a function f such that every graph G in the class has chromatic number at most f(!(G)), where !(G) is the clique number of G; and the class is polynomially bounded if f can be taken to be a polynomial. The Gy arf as-Sumner conjecture asserts that, for every forest H, the class of H-free graphs (graphs with no induced copy of H) is -bounded. Let us say a forest H is good if it satis es the stronger property that the class of H-free graphs is polynomially -bounded. Very few forests are known to be good: for example, the goodness of the ve-vertex path is open. Indeed, it is not even known that if every component of a forest H is good then H is good, and in particular, it was not known that the disjoint union of two four-vertex paths is good. Here we show the latter (with corresponding polynomial !(G)16); and more generally, that if H is good then so is the disjoint union of H and a four-vertex path. We also prove an even more general result: if every component of H1 is good, and H2 is any path (or broom) then the class of graphs that are both H1-free and H2-free is polynomially -bounded.